Leaves cancelled, 7 am to 1 pm shifts: Bank officials rise up to the challenge
Even as the public at large is inconvenienced, bank officials and ATM managers across the country are burning the midnight oil to help impatient and anxious customers get new notes.black money crackdown Updated: Nov 13, 2016 18:17 IST
Rahul Patil, a State Bank of Patiala assistant manager, was to attend his best friend’s wedding this weekend. Call of duty forced him to announce his inability to attend the ceremony.
He was not the only one working on Sunday, a holiday. Bank officials and ATM managers across the country are working round-the-clock to help anxious people get new notes after the government scrapped the 500- and 1,000-rupee bills from November 9.
Bank officials’ leaves were cancelled and they were told to work on this Saturday and Sunday for a smooth transition from the old notes to the new, though people’s panic and rush have made the switch hardly “the little inconvenience” that it was supposed to be.
Rituraj Sinha, president of Cash Logistics Association of India and co-chairman at FICCI Private Security, said he made an emotional appeal to 35,000 staff members, “asking them to come to work with extra clothes and toothbrushes to do their duty towards the nation”.
The officials gave a spirited response to the call. They are trying their best, handling myriad teething problems and frayed tempers of people standing in long queues for hours.
“I leave home at 5am from Thane every day to reach office at 7am. I leave office well past midnight,” Siddesh Hardikar, cluster branch manager at ICICI bank’s Borivali East branch in Mumbai, described his routine after the government’s midweek demonetisation announcement.
“We have opened additional counters and separate queues for our own customers … they are more agitated,” he said.
Security guards and office staff are pitching in with water and biscuits for people in the queues.
A Punjab National Bank zonal manager in Mumbai said they are trying to explain to customers the urgency of the situation.
“It is difficult sometimes to handle an aggrieved customer. We have extra counters, separate for senior citizens and women,” he said.
State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya on Friday announced separate counters for those opening new bank accounts. “There is no need to panic. There is time till December 30,” she said.