Self-Help Group Turns Trainees Into Debtors

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Srinagar – Fifteen young women have been turned into debtors, thanks to frauds by a self-help group operating through the state’s Women’s Development Corporation (WDC).

A Pulwama resident, identified as Ghulam Qadir Ganai, is alleged to have drawn lakhs of rupees from banks in the name of the Syed Zia-ud-Din Self-Help Group, using the victims as supposed beneficiaries.

The girls had joined the group for a three-month training course in various trades aimed to help run their own centres.

They had been assured of receiving Rs 500 as a monthly stipend, and Rs 25,000 each at the end of training to start their own units.

“Not only were we paid just Rs. 400 instead of the promised Rs 500, we were duped into signing loan forms for which we had to submit photographs for identification and Rs 130 as fee,” a delegation of the victims told the KNS.

According to the girls, Ganai drew Rs 3.75 lakh as loan in their names, a fact attested by the bank manager.

“But on August 25, we came to know that we had been cheated because the money had been taken by someone else, and we had been left in debt,” they said.

“To carry out the fraud, the centre-owner had named his daughters Neelofar and Muzzammil as leader and treasurer respectively, while another close relative, Tabassum Salaam, was made the secretary,” they said.

The girls said that they had petitioned the managing director of the Women’s Development Corporation, Dr. Naheed Soz, as well, but no action had been taken against the cheat.

When contacted, Dr. Soz confirmed that the corporation had advanced the loan to the self-help group, and said that the matter had been brought to her notice.

“I have personally initiated action and already issued orders in this respect,” she said. “The girls will have nothing to worry about.”  Observer News Service

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