Banks will be shut for seven days between October 21 and 29, leaving only two working days in the festive gap for customers to do everything from encashing cheques to putting the Puja jewellery back in the locker.
October 20 being a Saturday, even the last working day before the Puja break won’t be a full shift for the retail banking counters. Starting Saptami on October 21, banks will be closed for four days till Dashami on October 24, Wednesday. They will reopen for two days — October 25 and 26 — before closing again for three.
Id-ul-Zoha falls on October 27, followed by a Sunday and Lakshmi Puja on what would otherwise have been the first working day of the week.
“I usually return my jewellery to the locker after Dashami but maybe not this year. The queues will be longer as banks will open for only two days before closing again till the month-end,” said a north Calcutta homemaker.
Bank officials said the long holiday stretch would not affect online and ATM transactions. “We will replenish the ATMs every day,” said Amit Banerjee, deputy general manager of SBI.
Officials of private banks promised the same. “Customers are unlikely to face a problem unless there is an ATM glitch,” a spokesperson for ICICI Bank said.
If bank employees will be getting seven out of nine days off starting Saptami, the government workforce is rejoicing at the prospect of a 10-day holiday stretch with just a working Friday (October 26) midway to take care of with a casual leave application.
According to the holiday calendar, government offices are closed from October 20 (Sashthi) till October 25 (Ekadashi). Offices open for a day before closing again for the next three days, courtesy the Sunday sandwiched between Id-ul-Zoha and Lakshmi Puja.
“I applied for and got approved my casual leave for October 26 two months ago. I will be on vacation in Darjeeling and Sandakphu during those 10 days,” said Goutam Mullick, an upper division clerk in the housing department.
Some private companies have issued notices saying attendance is mandatory on October 25 and 26.
“I received eight applications for casual leave on October 25 and 26, forcing me to issue a notice saying all employees must attend office on those two days,” said Subrata Adhikari, who owns an IT firm in Jodhpur Park.