Security agencies in Bangalore have been receiving unusual requests from banks over the last two days. Banks, which normally settle for at least yearlong contracts for providing security at ATM kiosks, are now scrambling to put in place short-term measures to meet the Sunday deadline fixed by the police. They have asked for guards for a fortnight or a month. However, many security agencies, it is learnt, have refused such contracts.

“Some banks have asked us to provide security guards for 15 days to a month. We have not accepted such offers as there is no guarantee that the arrangement will be continued,” Parashiva Murthy, who owns Citizen Security, said.

Security companies add that banks pay too little for the guards posted at ATM kiosks. “Many banks set aside about Rs. 16,000 for two guards a month, so only senior persons agree to work under such conditions.” Of the salary, 12.36 per cent is deducted as service tax, and a service charge that ranges from 15 per cent to 20 per cent is collected by the agency. “If we get about Rs. 16,000 as monthly security for an ATM kiosk, each guard may end up getting about Rs. 5,000 after all deductions. How many will come forward to work for such paltry pay?” Mr. Murthy asked.

With the police threatening to clamp down on unmanned kiosks, banks could be forced to pay up, said a security agency proprietor.

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