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Customers breathe easy as bank sealing suspended

The Noida authority will on Friday de-seal eight banks that were closed down on Wednesday for operating out of residential premises.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2012 23:39 IST
Darpan Singh

The Noida authority will on Friday de-seal eight banks that were closed down on Wednesday for operating out of residential premises.

It has also suspended its sealing drive against commercial establishments running in non-commercial areas, such as residential and industrial, till March 5.

By then, all 'illegal' banks need to move out as the authority will resume sealing such properties if they are not shut and shifted from March 6. This spells some relief for about 12 lakh customers and 90,000 locker-holders of 104 banks running in non-commercial premises.

Noida authority's CEO SK Dwivedi said, "Our sealing drive was justified according to the court's December 5 order which allowed us to seal premises if shifting is not done in two months. On January 23, the court gave six weeks' time for the banks to shift. But since banks did not stop operations, we went ahead with our sealing drive."

The CEO said the court on Thursday gave six weeks from January 23 for the banks to shift.

"Those who get plots, can approach the court again and seek time for construction. Our concern is to seal all banks in residential areas once the six-week deadline ends," he added.

The order to de-seal banks has given relief to about 1 lakh customers of the eight banks sealed on Wednesday.

It is estimated that cash worth Rs 20 crore was stuck in the chests of these banks. As many as 5,000 cheques were also said to be stuck.

For example, Indian Bank has 7,000 customers. It also has 1,500 lockers. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 500 cheques were deposited at the branch.

Bank of Maharashtra has three branches in Noida. One was sealed on Wednesday. The other two are also in residential areas and they also faced the threat of sealing. The bank has 35,000 customers. They would have all had to go to either Ghaziabad or Delhi.

Similarly, Vijaya Bank has 4,000 customers and 400 lockers.

When asked if six weeks were enough for banks to get plots and complete construction of new buildings, Dwivedi said, "We have announced a scheme of commercial plots for all 104 affected banks. Those who get plots can approach the court again and seek time for construction. Our concern is to seal all residential area banks once the six-week deadline ends."

Fate of nursing homes uncertain

The fate of more than 100 nursing homes operating in non-commercial area, which cater to about 1.5 lakh patients every day, remains uncertain.

Though the Supreme Court has stayed sealing of such establishments till March 5, nursing homes, unlike banks, do not know where to shift. With no solution in sight, medical practitioners are clueless about an alternative once the deadline expires.

Astha Saxena, Noida