Tirunelveli, India, Nov 8, 2017 -- Two weeks after the usury helpline number was launched by the Tirunelveli district administration it has received 100 calls till Tuesday afternoon. Though the numbers have touched the triple figure, there is a sharp drop in the number of complaints the helpline received in the second week (from November 1).
The helpline number was launched on October 24 (Tuesday), the day after the family of a daily wage labourer Isakimuthu, his wife and two little daughters, succumbed to burn injuries following a self-immolation act at the Tirunelveli collectorate on October 23. The district specific helpline number was launched to help victims of Tirunelveli.
In the initial days of its launch, response for the helpline was very good, as it received calls from across the state and even couple of middle eastern countries. As many as 30 Tirunelveli district specific complaints were registered in the first two days. By the end of the first week (till October 31) it received 72 complaints.
Officials from the revenue and police departments were independently inquiring the complaints to ensure the authenticity of the complaints and to ensure that the victims got justice. But the helpline number seems to have lost momentum as there has been a steep drop in the number of complaints received since November 1. "Only 28 complaints have been received from November 1 to November 7 (afternoon). The number of calls we received including those from usury victims in other districts too have dropped. We received over 50 calls a day in the first week. It has dropped to around 15 to 20 calls a day now," an official in the department handling the helpline number told TOI.
Of the 15 taluks in the district most number of complaints were received from Radhapuram, (13) and Ambasamudram (13), followed by Kadayanallur (12), Palayamkottai (10), Sengottai (9), Tirunelveli (9), Alangulam (7), Sankarankovil (6), Manur (6), Tenkasi (3) and Nanguneri (5). Two or lesser complaints were received at V K Puram, Tiruvengadam, Cheranmahadevi and Sivagiri Taluks. Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that eight cases were registered on the complaints received at the helpline number, till Saturday.
On the drop in complaints, he said that it could be a good sign as those who were facing torture by usurers have come forward and lodged complaints. He said the complaints received at the helpline were in addition to the 56 complaints lodged by victims directly in the police stations. FIRs have been registered on 27 of them.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Date Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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