[ Junroi Mamai ]
CHANGLANG, 12 Jul: The State Bank of India (SBI) customers of Changlang town have been facing a tough time owing to the apathetic attitude of the SBI authorities.
The town has only two automated teller machines (ATM) catering to thousands of SBI customers.
The ATM kiosk located near the market has been inoperative for almost a month now. People have to go to the other ATM booth, located at the Assam Rifles camp, but the ATM runs out of cash quickly as more people are withdrawing money from the ATM.
The bank’s premises also remains crowded, especially during the first and the last week of the month, as most people withdraw their salaries or make deposits during those days.
Such overcrowding during the pandemic is unsafe for both the customers and the banks’ staff as they are at a high risk of contracting the virus. Even though the customers are aware of the risk, they have no other option.
“One of the ATMs is closed; the other one has no cash. So I am here with a cheque. It’s been many weeks since the time the bank’s authorities told us that the ATM at the market would be repaired, but it’s still not operational. I don’t know what happened,” said one of the customers waiting outside the bank’s premises.
When asked, the bank’s staff informed that the ATM cannot disburse money because of technical issues.
“The ATMs installed here are all of a particular brand (Hitachi) and, as per the Reserve Bank of India’s direction, withdrawal of money through ATMs of said brand has been halted for some time, owing to the recent cyber security breach by hackers.
“We will, however, make the ATM operational soon,” stated one of the bank’s staffers.
Apart from technical issues afflicting the Changlang SBI branch, it is also severely understaffed with only two clerks manning the transaction counters. The branch is currently functioning with half the manpower. There are only two officers and two clerks, instead of four of each.
There has been no improvement in the branch despite the fact that the Changlang branch was upgraded to a Scale-III bank. The upgrading should have ensured that the branch had adequate staff, but such is not the case here.