Hyderabad

Private CSP operators taking illiterate tribals for a ride

Charging them 10 times more commission per withdrawal, siphoning money from their accounts

Illiterate tribals in the agency mandals of former composite Adilabad district are being cheated of their money allegedly by some unscrupulous private customer service point (CSP) operators, who dispense cash under the Aadhaar-Enabled Payment Services (AEPS). While hundreds of them were ‘robbed’ by such operators of their precious COVID-19 support money given by the State and Central governments during the lockdown, all those who received Rythu Bandhu assistance are now faced with the same threat.

As the name suggests, AEPS is a system through which a bank account holder can withdraw cash from his/her account if the Aadhaar number is linked to the account, subject to a maximum one-time withdrawal ₹10,000 and for a maximum of four times a month, including even checking account balance. Most private operators are alleged to have taken advantage of the illiteracy of bank customers to charge them ₹70 per withdrawal of ₹1,000 instead of the ₹7 per ₹10,000 as their commission on the transaction besides some siphoning off money from the accounts without the knowledge of the customer and without issuing the mandatory slips for a transaction.

The AEPS enables an operator to access the bank account of a customer who wants to withdraw money or check the balance through thumb impression on a biometric machine. On verifying the balance, the operator pays in cash as per the need of the customer and gets reimbursed by transferring an equivalent amount from the latter’s account to his own account.

This system does come handy for people living in far-flung areas like Narnoor and Gadiguda in Adilabad district and Jainoor, Sirpur (U) and Lingapur mandals in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, to name a few, but is fraught with danger of getting cheated. In many instances, the customers believe what the operator tells them about their account balance and get cheated eventually.

A case in point is Madavi Anil Kumar of Rupapur village in the interior Gadiguda mandal who alleged that an operator has withdrawn ₹6,000 from his account on June 8 after he gave his thumb impression to find out his account balance. Gadiguda police have booked a case against the operator after he lodged a complaint.

“The hilly Gadiguda mandal is located on the border with Maharashtra and the area is not serviced by any bank which is an important factor in illiterate people being robbed by the unscrupulous operators,” says Mesram Keshav, Jugnak Meera and Govind Rao, youth activists from the mandal. “We are seized of the matter and the need for opening a bank branch in the remote mandal has been brought to the notice of appropriate authorities,” asserted Utnoor DSP N. Uday Reddy.

“With regard to the crime, we are not only booking cases against the accused, but have taken up an awareness programme on the issue. Those indulging in such practices will be dealt with strictly,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 10:06:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/private-csp-operators-taking-illiterate-tribals-for-a-ride/article31935434.ece

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