When Raj Kumar Majhi, a beggar in Gaya's Manglagauri temple, incurred a medical bill of Rs 8,000 for his sister's treatment, help poured in from an unusual quarter --- a bank he works for!
Majhi got the necessary amount as loan from the bank run by forty beggars, all of whom operate at the gates of the Manglagauri temple in Gaya.
The bank was established six months earlier with an aim to help out whenever any of the members ran into financial constraints. Manjhi, a literate person who is the manager of the bank, became the first account holder to take a loan from it.
All the members of the bank's management team are beggars - who deposit Rs 20 every Tuesday, even when the income is low owing to the slack in devotees visiting the temple.
"I got the loan without completing any paper work," said Manjhi, who will not be required to pay any interest on the loan for a month. After that, he will have to pay interest at the rate of 2-3%.
"The bank remains open 24X7, even on the Sundays and other holidays. We have the privilege of drawing or depositing the money as all 'officials' are available round-the-clock. It is better and convenient than the ATMs of government banks."
Manjhi's wife Malti, who is the secretary of the bank, said, "The idea to open the bank came to our mind last year after the visit of State Society for Ultra Poor and Social Welfare officers, who encouraged us to save our earnings."
The beggars of Askhaybatt, Vishnupad and other temples of the town would be linked with the bank soon, she added.