The industrialists/businessmen of Pokhara have protested on the streets against the excesses of banks and financial institutions.
On Thursday, industrialists/businessmen took to the streets under the organization of Pokhara and Lekhnath Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With placards and banners with various demands, they demonstrated for an hour at Chilledhunga Chowk in Pokhara.
The program was attended by various business associations, organizations related to transportation business, Pabson, NPabson and others in Pokhara and Lekhnath area.
Speaking at the protest program, the president of Federation of Nepal Industry and Commerce, Gandaki, Sanjiv Bahadur Koirala, claimed that the increase in the interest rate on loans by the bank has left industrialists/businessmen unable to rise. He demanded that the opinion of the political parties should be made public regarding this problem saying that the closure of industries/businesses means the collapse of the economy. “If national consensus is sought in the face of disasters like earthquakes, floods and landslides, why not seek the problems of businessmen?”, he asked.
Baburam Giri, a central member of Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explained the protest as a symbolic campaign and declared that the protest against the excesses of banks will be nationwide. Pawan Kumar Prajapati, president of the Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that they were forced to come to the streets due to the increase in the interest on loans from banks and financial institutions, due to restrictions and mental panic. He insisted that the private sector has been demanding to reduce the interest rate raised by the bank for a long time, but it has not been heard.
We have not said that we will not pay loan installments and interest. Our demand is only to reduce the suddenly and unilaterally increased interest and reschedule the loan installments,” he said. We are saddened to see the government not even listening to the simple demand that we will pay the loan as soon as the business is done.
He also warned that if the peaceful voices are not heard, we will go to Kathmandu and protest. “If the interest rate does not decrease, we will be forced to hand over the keys to the business to the government,” he said.
Chhatradhar Atreya, President of Lekhnath Industry and Commerce Association, thanked the participants in the protest program and asked them to be ready for a strong movement in the coming days. Senior Vice President of Pokhara Industry and Commerce Association Gokarna Karki warned the government not to consider the peaceful protest a weakness.
He also said that until the demand of the private sector is heard, the protest program will continue and if necessary, the protest will be held in Kathmandu itself. Balram Acharya, General Secretary of the Union, has decided to hold a demonstration with placards against the arbitrariness of banks and financial institutions during the demonstration.