UFBU Ludhiana unit demands to reconsider operation of banking services in district

Writes to DC Ludhiana requesting to consider model adopted in Chandigarh in regard to banking services

UFBU Ludhiana unit demands to reconsider operation of banking services in district
Com Naresh Gaur, Convener, UFBU Ludhiana Unit.

Ludhiana: United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) Ludhiana unit under the leadership of Com Naresh Gaur, Convenor, while representing to the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana today, requested to re-consider the operation of banking services in the district. Keeping in view the present situation, he requested to consider the model adopted in Chandigarh in regard to banking services. 

The letter sent to deputy commissioner of Ludhiana under signatures of the UFBU Ludhiana unit convener Com Naresh Gaur, reads as under: 
“By means of instant application, the undersigned not only intends to share the deep concern, expressed by you, on the steep hike in number of COVID-19 patients witnessed in Ludhiana district, but also intends to express his gratitude on behalf of all his fellow residents for your remarkable work round the clock to keep us all safe throughout these odd 12 weeks.

Sir, the Banking Sector has been playing a crucial and key role in keeping the wheels of economy going during this crucial period and has been rendering service to the extremely needy members of the society in whose accounts the government had credited financial assistance.  However, akin to the other frontline warriors, the Banking community is also vulnerable to the risk of spread of COVID-19, and the sword of Damocles in the shape of constant threat to themselves and the members of their families continues to haunt them.  The Bankers are grateful to the Administration for their  unflinching support during these crucial periods.

When compared to other States, such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, NCR, etc, we have been fortunate to contain the spread to a great extend.  However, the sudden surge in numbers post 28th April, 2020 has rung alarm bells, and has increased the apprehension in the minds of the Bankers.  Another alarming fact is registration of as many as 23 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the tally of COVID-19 positive cases in Ludhiana District, as on 02nd May 2020 to 122.

“Supply creates its own demand” an oft repeated quote/rule of Economics holds true during the present pandemic situation. At a time when all the ATMs are loaded to dispense cash and online banking, as well as mobile banking is operational 24x7, it is observed that there is a hike in foot-fall of customers in and outside Bank Branches. A majority of such foot-fall is merely to enquire account balance and for passbook updation, despite the fact that both these facilities are available digitally.

Sir, here we would like mention the model of banking operations in the capital city Chandigarh, where the banks are allowed to open their respective branches on alternative days, so that the customers of a particular bank could come out for gettig their work done related to banks, resulting in less chaos on the roads.

Sir, there are approximately 900 branches in Ludhiana District and average number of members of staff is 6 in each branch. Further, the average daily foot-fall of customers being visited by these branches range between 55-65 (though in such branches the number exceeds 100). This huge number of around 3 lac persons who visit the branches is a matter of concern particularly when the need of the hour is physical distancing. 

In order to mitigate this obvious threat, the Bankers humbly and respectfully request your gracious self to re-consider the decision of opening of Bank Branches on all days within Ludhiana district in  view of the following facts:
Firstly:  ATMs and Online Banking facilites are made available by all Banks and provides easy access round the clock;
Secondly: A majority of customer footfall is avoidable as the same is for the purpose of enquiry and requires no other Banking services in particular;
Thirdly: Such gathering of customers results in continuous violation of social-distancing norm;
Fourthly: There has been a spate of rise in asymptomatic cases; and 
Lastly: There is a very real and looming threat to Banker(s) and their families
These are unprecedented times, and every small step matters. Hence, in view of facts enunciated above, it is requested that appropriate action be initiated inline with model adopted in Chandigarh and bank branches in Ludhiana be advised to open on alternate days of week as per roaster system to save the customers as well as bank staff from this pandemic.”