Cash ferried to ATMs in ambulances

IN ADVERSITY, JK BANK SHOWS THE WAY

ARIF SHAFI WANI

Srinagar, July 5: In trouble-torn Kashmir, ambulances during the past two decades have been extensively used to ferry mainly the injured to the hospitals.
 However, due to violent demonstrations and ongoing unrest over the killings in the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank under its ‘cash in distress scheme’ adopted a novel way to ferry cash to the ATMs—using ambulances to escape fury of the protesters and troopers.
 Usually, the JK Bank uses bullet proof vehicles, escorted by policemen, to ferry cash to ATMs. However, due to the prevailing unrest, the JK Bank management decided to use ambulances to reach out to the ATMs. Pertinently, the Bank has 155 ATMs spread across the Valley. Nearly 30 ATMs are located in volatile areas of the Old City.
 Officials said the ambulances were used to ferry staff and cash to the sensitive localities housing ATMs in the Old Srinagar City. “Due to the hostile situation, it was a challenging situation for the Bank to load the ATMs. But due to hectic efforts of our officers who even risked their lives, we managed to ensure smooth functioning of the ATMs,” the JK Bank’s Zonal head Kashmir (Central), Abdul Hamid Banday told Greater Kashmir. 
 He said the Bank last week obtained curfew passes and ferried its staff in an ambulance to National Institute of Technology Nigeen to facilitate receipt of fees for a competitive entrance exams on its last date.
 Incidentally, over Rs 21 crore were withdrawn from the ATMs in the Valley on Sunday.
 “It was like Arfa on Sunday. We had to load the each ATM atleast thrice. On an average Rs 15 lakh were withdrawn from each ATM. The highest Rs 35 lakhs were withdrawn from Rawalpora ATM,” Banday who also heads the Central ATM Maintenance Team said.
 Pertinently, the Bank has a state-of-the-art mechanism to monitor the balance of the ATMs. He said the Bank had rushed a mobile ATM van to Baltal for convenience of the Amarnath pilgrims. However, the Bank faced another challenge. It had to make hectic parleys with the Reserve Bank of India to facilitate opening of its Chest.
 “There were over 45000 transactions at our ATMs yesterday. We felt short of cash and had to open our Chest. Our efforts yielded results as the RBI, which regulates the Chest, gave us the green signal,” said Banday. 
 Officials said during the past week, the Bank loaded over Rs 90 crore in its ATMs.  “Since June 28, Rs 52 crore were withdrawn from our ATMs. People are apprehensive about the situation and want to keep maximum cash with them,” they said.
 The JK Bank’s problems were compounded as the customers of other banks also used its ATMs. “There are atleast 20 nationalized banks operational in Kashmir valley and most of them had closed their ATMs during the curfew and strikes. They should take cue from the JK Bank to serve customers in every situation,” a senior JK Bank official said.
 Officials said during the uprising against the Amarnath land agitation, the JK Bank had made cash available at the doorsteps of its customers.
 Officials said on closing of the Bank’s quarterly accounts on June 30th, the branch managers and operational staff reached the branches at 5 am—despite curfew.
 They said the Bank’s chairman, Dr Haseeb Drabu had visited some of the branches in the wee hours to boost up the morale of the employees.
 When contacted Dr Haseeb Drabu said, “what makes JK Bank a great institution is not the quality of its management but the unparalleled dedication of its officers and staff. To show such a high order of commitment and work culture is unheard of in J&K and indeed in any part of the world. The credit must go to them.”

Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 5 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST




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