The average age of people applying for the post of watchman at ATMs in the city is 67 years, according to security agencies who undertake training for these personnel.

Close on the heels of the assault at a Bangalore ATM, the lack of strong security at ATMs has emerged as a serious concern for residents.

Sources in the Police Commissioner’s office agree that age is a problem when it comes to watchmen guarding ATMs, and that they had advised banks to appoint younger guards. However, they added that ultimately it was a decision to be taken by the banks.

The problem with hiring old people is that they are not fit, and will not be able to react quickly in an emergency. Police sources said that their night patrol teams often wake up the security guards sleeping outside ATMs.

Divya Murali of Indian Security Services in Villivakkam that trains security guards for ATMs said, “Most candidates applying for ATM watchmen jobs are aged above 65 with poor eyesight and physical health. Since the pay is minimal, they stop coming for the job or slack off.” Sadiq Ali (68), who guards a bank ATM on Pillayar Koil Street in Triplicane, says, he gets Rs. 2,700 a month for a regular night shift job. The average pay ranges between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 6,000 per month; a percentage of this goes to the security agency to whom the work is outsourced, according to a retired staff member of a public sector bank.

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