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17 Dec 2016

Banker dies in middle of work

Colleagues of the deceased bank officer at the hospital in Siliguri on Friday. Picture by Passang Yolmo
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 16: A senior official posted at a branch of the Central Bank of India here collapsed in office during working hours and died of a suspected cardiac arrest this afternoon.
Bank employees across the country have been under tremendous pressure and work load after the Centre demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and imposed ceiling on withdrawals.
Noel Topno, 52, who hailed from Ranchi in Jharkhand, was posted as the chief manager of the Bidhan Market branch of the Central Bank of India. He suddenly fell ill in his chamber and was rushed to the Siliguri district hospital just 1km away in a cash van parked outside the branch. The doctors pronounced him brought dead.
Topno's colleagues said he used to reach the bank before 10am daily.
"Since last month, like all of us, he has been coming to the bank by 9.45am or so and used to leave with us around 7.30pm. Today, he arrived at the branch as usual and went to his chamber," Chinmoy Ghosh, an employee the branch, said.
"We were busy working. He was engrossed in some paper work in his chamber. Around 1pm, we suddenly noticed him falling from his chair. We rushed to his chamber and tried to speak to him. He could not say anything and within seconds, he fell unconscious. He was frothing at the mouth," Tapash Chakraborty, a clerical employee at the branch, said.
The staff carried Topno to the hospital.
"We took him to the emergency ward, where doctors examined him and pronounced him brought-dead. The doctors suspect that a cardiac arrest led to the death," Chakraborty said.
Umesh Chandra Guchait, the regional manager of Central Bank of India posted in Siliguri, reached the hospital.
Asked whether excessive workload and stress had led to Topno's death, Guchait said: "It is an unfortunate incident but we cannot draw an inference that he has expired due to this reason. All we can say is that like any other bank or the branch of our bank, there was similar pressure on Topno's branch too. Bank employees across the country are dealing with such pressure."
The deceased person's colleagues said they had no idea of Topno being perturbed with any bank-related issues.
Since November 9, there have been a number of incidents across the country where bank employees of different ranks have died. In most cases, the causes of deaths have been attributed to the additional stress and workload by bank union leaders and families of the deceased.
Laxmi Mahato, the Darjeeling district secretary of the All India Bank Employees' Association, said each bank employee was having to take abnormal work load.
"These days, every bank employee is working under tremendous pressure. In most branches, they need to spend extra hours and they are not getting adequate time to rest," Mahato said.
A senior physician said cardiac arrest could happen because of stress and anxiety.
"Particularly for individuals aged above 50, such sudden cardiac arrests are common. Physical and mental fatigue after working for several hours in a consistent manner without a proper break takes a toll on one' health condition," the doctor said.
In such a situation, he said, it is always advisable to take rest whenever possible and practise meditation to release stress.
Sources at the bank said their senior officers were trying to contact Topno's family members.

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