Despite incidents of robberies , banks in villages in the district continue to work without security guards. A whirlwind tour of the district revealed that the four banks in Kauni, Bariwala and Harike Kalan villages had no security guards.
Two banks -- State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) at Bariwala -- had ATMs as well in their premises, but no security guard was deployed there. The ATM of the Bariwala branch of the SBI had witnessed a theft of Rs 3.4 lakh in February last year.
The PNB branch at Kauni village was also without a security guard. Its branch manager Gaurav Arora said, “I have informed the Bathinda branch regarding the lack of adequate security arrangements." He also acknowledged that it was difficult to manage without a security guard.
The SBI’s Bariwala branch manager Sidharth Bhasin admitted that the branch required a security guard urgently. He, however, refrained from making further comments.
The PNB’s Harike Kalan branch manager Mangtu Ram Solanki said, “I have written to the senior officials for arranging security guards, but there is no response so far." However, ATMs in the premises of the banks remain functional till 5 pm only, that is, during office hours.
“What is the use of ATMs if these are not functional after bank hours," said a villager.
- May 3: Rs 10.2 lakh stolen from the SBI branch at Srawan Bodla village
- May 2: Rs 1.3 crore robbed from Axis Bank cash van near Rajpura
- April 28: Rs 54,000 looted from an ATM near Jalandhar
Muktsar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Sushil Kumar said, “We have instructed banks to update CCTV cameras and intimate police before bringing cash to banks. We are willing to provide all possible help.”
The local police at the 'thana' level had recently conducted meetings with bank managers of their respective areas, instructing them to immediately deploy security guards and update CCTV cameras.
Bariwala SHO Darbara Singh said, “A meeting was held with local bank officials and we instructed them to employ security guards and check alarm gadgets and CCTV cameras regularly”.
Police clueless in Srawan Bodla village bank robbery
After one week of the bank robbery at Srawan Bodla village near Lambi in Muktsar, police are still clueless about the culprits. Though the Muktsar police have released sketches of robbers, the police have failed to make any headway so far. The SSP said, “Though robbers wore masks and even took the CCTV camera along with them, we have released sketches of robbers and are trying to trace them.”