God as guard: Bank opens ‘lockless’ branch (TOI article)

MUMBAI: The United Commercial (UCO) Bank has opened the country’s first lockless branch at Shani Shinganapur in Maharashtra, even as the Centre has made hi-tech security mandatory for all nationalized and private sector banks. Shani Shinganapur is a small village in Ahmednagar district whose presiding deity is Lord Shani. More than 5,000 devotees visit the temple every day, while on weekends the number crosses the 1 lakh mark.

“We took note of the general belief and faith of the people. Ever since the most revered temple came into existence several years ago, the village has not witnessed a single crime. In fact, all houses in the entire village have no doors. We took the risk and started the lockless bank a week ago,” a senior bank official said.

Local NCP legislator Shankar Gadakh had approached a section of nationalized and private banks about opening a branch in Shani Shinganapur to facilitate the devotees. However, for security reasons, most of them refused to oblige the NCP leader. “We then approached UCO bank, which agreed. It is certainly taking a risk, but in view of the peoples belief the bank has set up the branch,” a senior NCP leader said.

The legislator said bank officials carefully studied households in the township before starting the branch. “All houses here have no doors. We are following a more or less similar practice. Our branch has doors, but they will never be locked. Adequate precautions are being taken for the safety of lockers and important documents,” he said, adding that in months to come, the branch is planning to start an ATM near the temple.

Gadakh explained that, by and large, it is believed that because of Lord Shani’s power, the village has not witnessed a single theft or robbery in the recent past. “People here fear that if there is a theft or robbery, then the culprit and their family have to bear the wrath of Lord Shani,” he said.

Meanwhile, unhappy local cops said the branch has been started in violation of norms prescribed by the Centre. “In view of increasing bank robberies, the Centre has made it mandatory for all banks to provide state-of-the-art security. If a bank opens a lockless branch, it amounts to a breach of conditions. We will take it up with the DGP and RBI,” a senior police official said.

Read more: God as guard: Bank opens ‘lockless’ branch – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/God-as-guard-Bank-opens-lockless-branch/articleshow/7300436.cms#ixzz1BGAZJydn

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