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Updated: November 26, 2013 15:04 IST

Police close down 119 unmanned ATM kiosks in Mysore

R. Krishna Kumar
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Police pulling down shutters of an ATM kiosk in Mysore on Monday. Photo: Anurag Basavaraj
The Hindu Police pulling down shutters of an ATM kiosk in Mysore on Monday. Photo: Anurag Basavaraj

This follows expiry of the deadline given to all banks

Cash withdrawal from ATMs was affected in the city as the police closed down kiosks that were unmanned by security guards on Monday.

In all, 119 of the nearly 311 ATM kiosks of various banks were shut down by the police.

This is consequent to the expiry of the Sunday-deadline issued by the State government to all banks to appoint security guards at ATM kiosks and comply with guidelines or shut operations till they are in a position to provide 24x7 security.

This decision was fallout of the attack on a woman inside an ATM kiosk in Bangalore last Tuesday.

Commissioner of Police M.A. Saleem told The Hindu that of the 119 ATM kiosks that were closed down in the city, 13 each were shut down in Nazarbad and Saraswatipuram police station limits, seven each in N.R, Lashkar and Udayagiri police station limits, nine each in Jayalakshmipuram and Krishnaraja limits, eight in Mandi and five in Metagalli police station limits, among others.

There are around 311 ATM kiosks of various banks in the city, of which only 120 had security till last week, according to a survey conducted by the city police.

But, consequent to a meeting conducted by Mr. Saleem and representatives of various banks in the city, it was decided to step up security and appoint guards to all kiosks or close them down till they can provide security.

However, bank officials have averred that normalcy would be restored at the earliest by Wednesday.

Vinayak Kaisare, Assistant General Manager, Region I, State Bank of Mysore, told this correspondent that they were working overtime and outsourcing security guards.

J.S. Mann, Manager (Security), SBM, said appointing or outsourcing security personnel within the stipulated deadline was proving to be difficult because of shortage of trained security guards.

“There is an agency which provides security guards, but it is sourced by all the nationalised banks. Each ATM kiosk requires three security guards (for three shifts) and hiring nearly 100 security personnel for nearly 34 SBM ATMs in Mysore city alone was proving to be a difficult task. In addition to Mysore, the rural hinterland comprising Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Kodagu districts too will have to be accounted for,” said Mr. Mann.

But, a section of the employees and officials perceive that the directives to provide 24x7 security for all ATM kiosks was a kneejerk reaction and more time should have been given.

For a city like Mysore which has more than 270 ATMs, it means appointing around 1,000 security guards and this cannot be done within three days.

“Verifying the antecedents of the security personnel, ascertaining their educational qualifications and training received if any are other issues that have to be independently corroborated by banks, and this is a time consuming process,” they added.

But, there are financial implications arising out of this issue as well.

Providing 24x7 security for each ATM kiosk will mean appointing or hiring three security guards and this works out to nearly Rs. 50,000 a month a kiosk at rate ranging from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 17000 a guard.

(However, this may be the amount collected by the agencies as casual inquiry with a few of the guards indicated that they did not receive more than Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 7,000).

Whether the cost will be borne by banks or will be passed on to the customers will have to be decided by the bank management at a subsequent stage.

But, sources pointed out that banks cannot enhance ATM-user fee only for Karnataka and they will have to conform to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms, which are uniform across the country.

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