ATM security still lax as banks turn a ‘blind eye’


After the brutal attack on a woman bank manager in a bank ATM in Bangalore, citizens in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad looked forward to a tightened security system at ATMs in the city. However, since that does not seem to be happening, the citizens are left wondering: Are the police and the banks serious about ensuring security at over 2,000 ATMs ?

It seems that the police and the banks are passing the buck on one another when it comes to ATM security even as citizens continue to be at risk from lack of proper security. The problem is acute in Pimpri-Chinchwad and other fringe areas of the city. While some banks seem to be loathe to appoint 24 X 7 security guards citing financial problems, the police on their part seems to have failed to make all the banks fall in line about buttoning up the security at ATMs, many of which remain vulnerable especially in the evening hours.

After the attack on a bank manager in Bangalore, the Pune police had convened a meeting with all the bank manager officials to discuss the security threats facing the 2,000 odd ATMs in the city. Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol had told the banks that security of the ATMs was the onus of the banks and in case of any complaints, action would be taken against the banks. "Many banks have failed to tighten security at ATMs," said a police official.

A case in point is the state of Union Bank of India ATM located on the Pune-Mumbai Highway at Kasarwadi. At least, twice the bank ATM has become target of thieves in last five years. Once the desperadoes had disappeared with the ATM machine and another time they had tried to unsuccessfully break it. "In 2008, the machine itself was stolen," said branch manager Govind Jha. The bank has however provided a security guard armed with a stick only during night hours. "We have not provided a security guard during the day as the place is crowded. It involves financial burden," said Jha. "The armed security guard protects the bank premises," he said.

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