Security of banks in Jharkhand neglected over payment issue

May 26th, 2008 - 4:02 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi, May 26 (IANS) The Jharkhand government’s plan of raising a special police battalion to guard banks in the state has been welcomed by bankers but it is yet to be executed due to differences over who should pay the security forces. More than 55 bank robberies have taken place since the formation of the state in November 2000. In more than 22 cases, Maoists raided banks and escaped with money without any resistance.

Last week, 14 robbers stole Rs.50 million in cash besides one kilogramme of gold from the armoured van of ICICI Bank near Salgidih in Tamar block, around 70 km from here, as it was coming from Jamshedpur to Ranchi on its daily run to stock the ATMs in the state capital.

Since the past five years, discussions on raising a special police battalion have been going on between the government and bank authorities. Both sides agree that a special force is needed to secure banks but neither wants to pay the police personnel.

“The state government and bankers agreed to raise a special police battalion to guard the banks. However, there was a problem when the state government asked the banks to pay the salaries of the police personnel,” a police officer told IANS.

Police officials said bank authorities often overlook security concerns while expanding their network.

An Allahabad Bank official said: “We look into the aspect of financial viability while opening branches. It is the responsibility of police to ensure security.”

Banks in rural areas are often looted by Maoists, who are active in 18 of the 24 districts of the state. Some banks have been forced to shut down their branches.

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