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A Nepal village that's a kidney bank

world Updated: Feb 10, 2008 02:50 IST
Anirban Roy

Welcome to Amit Kumar's kidney bank. Rather, one of his many kidney banks — Nepal's Jyamdi village. Many of the kidneys for Kumar's illegal transplant hospital in Gurgaon came from here.



A visit to the village in the Karve district, about 55 km southeast of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu in the midst of a swirling kidney racket in neighbouring India, is eye-opening. In the past three years, at least one member from each family in the poor village has sold their kidneys in either Gurgaon or in Chennai.



Madhav Parajuli, a 33-year-old farmer, said he was taken to Gurgaon to donate his kidney and was cheated on the payment promised to him. He said the government should compensate him now that Kumar had been arrested.



Dipak Nepal, 23, had a narrow escape. "They took me to Delhi with the promise to pay 1.5 lakhs (Nepali rupees). But when they started bargaining with me saying they will only pay 45,000 rupees, I ran away."



About 800 people live in the Hokse and Pingola hamlets that fall under the Jyamdi Village Council, which is frequented by brokers from Gurgaon and Chennai. Poverty forced them to sell their kidneys for quick money, many of the inhabitants told

Hindustan Times

.



"I had to arrange some money for my family and accepted the offer of a broker to sell my kidney for 1.5 lakhs (Nepali) rupees," Ram Chandra Parajuli of Pingola said on Saturday.



But Ram Chandra's dream to provide a better life to his family members was shattered when the "kidney agents" in Chennai gave him only 54,000 Nepali rupees. "They have duped me," he said.



The village definitely has strong connections with the kidney racket allegedly run by Amit Kumar, who was arrested in Nepal this week and extradited to India on Saturday after the international kidney-for-money scandal came to light last month. Kumar is accused of coercing people to give their kidneys and then selling them to rich foreigners who were operated and kept at his illegal hospitals in Gurgaon.



The illiterate villagers have little knowledge of the world outside but need money, which makes them a target of the touts. "More and more people from the village got trapped in the kidney racket because of poverty," said Bhairav Thapa, the headmaster of Jyamdi primarily school.



Even women fell in the trap. "I don't want anyone to face the problems which I have faced for selling my kidney in India," said Bijula Damai, a 33-year-old housewife.



A mother of five children, Bijula sold one of her kidney as it was difficult for her to run the family and clear debts that she had raised to build a house. She too was duped, getting less than what she had been promised.



The victims said two Nepali citizens helped them get in touch with the organ agents from India. Many said the government should compensate them with the money that was recovered from Kumar.



Most of the victims are now aware of Kumar's arrest in Nepal and are demanding that the government should give them compensation from the money that was seized from him when he was arrested. Police recovered about $256,000 in various currencies, including euros, dollars and Indian rupees.