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25 Jun 2017

DeMon days in Hills on Eid weekend

Udit Prasanna Mukherji |TNN | Jun 25, 2017, KOLKATA: ATMs in the Hills are drying up as only a few cash-vending vans could drive uphill to refill them with cash for the last few days amid indefinite strike called by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM). Tourists as well as locals in both Darjeeling and Kalimpong are bracing for a no-cash situation on the extended weekend as all the bank branches will remain closed for the next 72 hours from June 24-26 owing to fourth Saturday and Eid on Monday.
A source said despite having a currency chest in Darjeeling, banks are not taking chances of carrying cash during bandh. "We are concerned about the law and order situation. If something happens with the cash van then what will we do?" the source asked. According to an employee from an agency engaged in refilling ATMs, many banks are reluctant to send cash from Siliguri by road owing to an ongoing trouble.
Another bank official of a public sector bank pointed out that it is worried about the security of their employees as well. "We cannot tell them to open branches when a bandh is there. What would happen if the branch and ATMs are vandalised," the official said. However, a top official of a leading PSU bank added that in the first instance of the relaxation of bandh, the branches and ATMs would start operations. Central Bank, UBI, SBI, Bank of Baroda, Standard Chartered and Axis Bank have branches in the hill towns. Both Darjeeling and Kalimpong taken together have 35 branches and they have around 45 ATMs, which had their shutters down for the last few days. Central Bank is the lead bank in Darjeeling while SBI is the top bank in Kalimpong. "We have 17 branches and 26 ATMs in the Hills but all are closed now," an SBI official said. Central Bank of India's seven branches in Darjeeling and Kalimpong were closed.
Officials estimated transactions worth Rs 4-Rs 5 crore through ATMs per day in the tourist season and in the off season, the transaction amount goes down to Rs 2 crore a day.
(Source & Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/demon-days-in-hills-on-eid-weekend/articleshow/59305483.cms)



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