NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Aug 18 - Sonti Das (28) a mother of two enthusiastically started her career as a rural entrepreneur by buying five goats as livestock business in Mazgaon village of Aamtola under Telahee rural development block of North Lakhimpur Revenue Circle. She was one of the beneficiaries of the Rs 1,50,000 loan sanctioned to Amtola Mazgaon Milijuli Self Help Group by Assam Gramin Vikash Bank.
As a member of that SHG, Sonti Das received Rs 15,000/- from the sanctioned loan. Besides buying the goats she also invested Rs 4000/- in fishery. She also returned two EMIs to the bank from her modest start up entrepreneurship.
But her dreams of self-reliance got shattered when the flood water of Ranganadi breached its right hand side embankment at Jainpur on July 9. The flood which came in great speed swept away her goats and completely destroyed her fishery pond. With no other income in her family Sonti now faces a bleak future with the burden of returning the EMIs to the bank.
The secretary of the SHG, Makon Baniya (37) shares the same tale of misery. She oversaw the equal distribution of Rs 15,000/- each to all ten member women entrepreneurs of the SHG to start up animal husbandry, fishery and duckery. A wife of a landless labour Makon Das also invested her share of the loan to the provision store she runs at Mazgaon village. But the flood of Ranganadi destroyed her entire house including her store.
Mazgaon Rupali Self Help Group received Rs 1,00,000/- as loan from AGV Bank early this year. The ten members SHG entitled Rs 10,000/- each for its women entrepreneurs and like others Rupa Das (32) of Mazgaon was one of such beneficiaries. She too invested the loan amount in raising goats. But the Ranganadi flood which entered her village through the breached embankment in Jainpur washed away all her cattle. The SHG returned two EMIs to the bank before the flood. Now all its members are now becoming defaulters due to the collateral damage caused by the flood.
Same is the story of Bina Das (30) who took a loan of Rs 40,000/-from Badhan Bank before the floods. She invested the loan amount in the chemist shop she runs in the same village. Bina�s pharmacy was destroyed by the Ranganadi flood. She too was returning Rs 2000/- a month or Rs 500/- to the bank for three months before the flood. But Bina is seeing only darkness for the days ahead.
All the cases of loss and damage of business start ups by rural women entrepreneurs are marked by the lack of awareness on insurance. None of these women entrepreneurs had their business set ups insured. As a result their loan accounts has become Non Performing Assets in the banks.