ATMs yet to fulfill security norms

 Though the deadline to equip ATM with security measures is up, a majority of the kiosks in the city are yet to comply with it. While some kiosks don’t have CCTVs, many of them don’t have guards, forcing the service providers to keep the kiosks closed.

Soon after a woman was brutally attacked in Bangalore in November, 2013, by an unidentified person, banks providing ATM facilities were asked to follow certain guidelines, by putting in place security measures, within 45 days. Although no serious crime at an ATM kiosk has been reported in the city, the Bangalore attack has made it imperative for the banks to pull up their socks.

Also, none of the banks have installed alarm systems, as they feel that it is impractical, and not feasible. The banks also claimed that there are no proper guidelines from police department as to what kind of alarms should be installed.

No CCTVs

Banks also claim that installing CCTVs is a costly affair -- costing anywhere between Rs 45,000 to 60,000. The footage is stored for 90 days. “Also, miscreants can end up damaging the surveillance system, adding burden to banks,” said Uday Kumar Shetty, Assistant General Manager (AGM), Vijaya Bank.

Reality check

A reality check by this reporter brought to fore that some of the ATMs are closed due to lack of security personnel, like in the case of Syndicate Bank ATM near Sadvidya Educational Institution, and Dhanalaxmi Bank ATM in Double road. Banks which have few ATMs are forced to shut down, as they have not been able to hire guards. The situation is worse in remote areas. 

However, there are kiosks that are also functioning without guards. For instance, the ATM of Axis bank on M G Road was operating without a security guard at around 11 pm.

K N Shivalingaiah, chief manager of State Bank of Mysore (SBM) who is also manager of District Lead Bank, said there are 458 ATM's in district, including 376 in the city. He revealed that around 95 percent of the kiosks have followed the guidelines in the district. Those who could not meet norms have decided to shut down the facility.

Before November, 2013, SBM had 81 ATM’s in the district, out of which 21 kiosks had no guards. Currently they have all been filled, he said.

Canara Bank had no security guards, except at its two branches, which have E-Lounge facilities in Kuvempunagar and Jayalaxmipuram, prior to the Bangalore incident. K Balaji, Senior Manager, Canara Bank (Mysore circle) said that all of its 29 kiosks in the city now have guards. However, the 3 kiosks of the bank located in the outskirts, still do not have guards. “But they have all been installed with CCTVs,” claimed Balaji.

Vijaya Bank has 16 kiosks in the city, and 8 in outskirts. Three kiosks do not have guards. Also, the bank is in the process of installing CCTVs.

Aged guards

The visit to the ATMs also revealed that most of the guards in the ATMs are aged, mostly above 55 years. Such guards can be found at ATMs belonging to Indian Overseas Bank on Chamaraja double road, Axis and Canara banks on M G Road. “We are helpless. We cannot look be looking into the age factor whiling hiring the guards. However they are trained by the agencies,” stated a senior bank officer.

Not feasible

Apart from deploying security guards, police asked all the banks to install an alarm system. The department however has not given a clear direction as to what kind alarm system should to be installed at an ATM, banks claim.

Alarms

K Balaji, Senior Manager, Canara Bank (Mysore circle) says there are a number of alarm systems: panic alarm, line detector alarm, motion detector, door alarm and others. ”Suppose the bank installs a panic alarm, it can be misused by mischief mongers.
Further, if a alarm key is given to security guard at the kiosk, he can be threatened and it can be snatched away from him. There needs to be clarity in this regard,” he added.
Some banks, despite having installed alarm systems, claimed that it had they really did not serve the purpose.

Shetty of Vijaya Bank pointed out that all the alarm systems in the ATMs of the bank are connected via BSNL lease lines. “Most of the customer do not know where the alarm switch is situated. Also, with BSNL service going offline time and again. these alarm do not serve the purpose in times of danger,” he said.

Meagre salaries

Banks employ security guards at the ATM’s through private agencies. According to a bank manager, each kiosk needs two or more guards, who are paid a salary of Rs 7,000 to 9,000 per month by the agencies.

A security guard belonging to OM SecurityServices, deployed near a school ATM said that he was fixed a salary of Rs 8,500 per month for 12 hours of work. After deduction (PF and other cuts) he takes home a salary of Rs 7,500. Having worked for seven years as a guard in Bangalore and Mysore, he has not availed any labour benefits from the employer. Guards who work for 8 hours are paid Rs 5,500.

Top cop speaks

Mysore City Police Commissioner  M A Saleem speaking to Deccan Herald said that the banks had not been asked to install alarm systems. “We have only suggested that they have security guards and install CCTV’s inside the kiosk,” he added.

He however said that the above mentioned factors would be discussed in a meeting with the bank officials next month.

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