Odisha bank manager suspended after woman drags 100-year-old mother on a cot to branch

Bank expresses regret, clarifies officer had offered to visit woman’s house but could not do so as there was a rush at the single-officer branch.

June 15, 2020 10:22 pm | Updated June 16, 2020 05:42 am IST - BHUBANESWAR:

Punjimati Dei dragging her bedridden mother.

Punjimati Dei dragging her bedridden mother.

The manager of a bank in Odisha’s Nuapada district was suspended after a 60-year-old woman dragged her 100-year-old mother on a cot to the bank for withdrawing money from a Jan Dhan account.

The manager of the Bargaon branch of the Utkal Grameen Bank (UGB), identified as Ajit Kumar Pradhan, had sought physical verification of Labhe Baghel, a centenarian. She is a resident of the same Bargaon village.

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Ms. Baghel had received ₹1,500 under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package announced by Centre. Monthly assistance of ₹500 (April to June) had been deposited to her Jan Dhan bank account.

On June 9, Punjimati Dei, her daughter, visited bank to withdraw the amount since her mother was bedridden. When physical verification was needed, having no option, Ms. Dei placed her mother on a cot and dragged her along the road to the bank. She was then able to withdraw her money. A video of Ms. Dei dragging her mother on a cot has since gone viral.

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“This unfortunate incident was taken seriously by the State government and the Chairman of UGB was requested on Sunday to take stern action after due enquiry. Based on the request, the bank authorities immediately suspended Mr. Padhan, pending disciplinary action,” a government statement said.

‘Communication gap’

The bank, however, clarified that the manager had offered to visit the woman’s house, but could not do so as there was a rush at the branch, which has only a single officer assigned to it.

“In her anxiety to get the money early and avoid rush the next day, she [Ms. Dei] had come to the branch on June 10 before business started by pulling her mother on a cot from her residence, to the surprise of the branch staff. Though payment was made, the unfortunate incident had happened and it was widely covered by media,” the bank said.

The bank’s Chairman, expressing regret over the incident, said the branch manager did not have any intention of causing harassment, but the incident, which was the result of a communication gap, ended up showing the bank in poor light.

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