Society under consumer scan
Kalimpong, Oct. 22: A father-son duo from a Kalimpong village have lodged a complaint with the Darjeeling district consumer forum against a local cooperative society for not returning their deposits three years after maturity.
Shanti Ram Ghimirey and his son Bhupen from Dalapchand, about 10km from here, had deposited their hard-earned savings with the Dalapchand Gram Panchayat Sahakari Krishi Union Samiti, a registered society in the village.
When the Ghimireys deposited the money, mostly by way of fixed deposits, they were told that they would get their returns at the interest rate of 10 per cent on completion of the maturity period of a year.
However, more than three years after the maturity, the Ghimireys have only received a tiny part (Rs 46,000) of their six deposits worth Rs 1,33,000. The samiti is yet to refund Rs 87,000 in fixed deposits and Rs 5,856 in savings account, totalling Rs 92,856, to the duo.
The samiti is affiliated to the Darjeeling District Central Cooperative Bank Limited based here.
According to the terms of agreement between the samiti and the bank, the samiti is required to put 70 per cent of the amount of each deposit in the bank. However, a bank official told The Telegraph that the Dalapchand samiti did not seem to have followed the rule book.
The Ghimireys, however, do not want to listen to any such explanations but simply want their money back.
They, in fact, approached the Darjeeling District Consumer Distress Redressal Forum yesterday, seeking refund of their deposits with interest calculated at the rate of 12 per cent from the date of their maturity till the time of payment.
“We have also sought an additional amount of Rs 15,000 as compensation for the mental harassment caused to us by the samiti,” said Bhupen.
Bhupen said in their effort to get back the money, they had even approached the bank on many occasions but to no avail. After running for pillar to post for the past three years, the Ghimireys finally approached the Kalimpong Consumers’ Forum (KFC), an NGO, which after making inquiries advised them to lodge a complaint with the consumer redressal forum.
“There are many more Ghimireys in the village. Many of them, because of ignorance, have almost given up their life-long savings,” said Praful Rao, the KFC secretary.
When contacted, the Dalapchand samiti’s manager Dhurba Rai admitted that the Ghimireys were to get their entire money back. “We will eventually pay them their entire dues but unfortunately are not in a position to do that in one go,” he said.