An ATM kiosk in Bistupur remains shut on Tuesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Go to your nearest State Bank of India (SBI) ATM, and odds are you won’t get cash.
ATM services of India’s largest public sector bank are hit across Jharkhand and Bihar wherever SIS Services Private Limited, a leading cash-in-transit (CIT) or money-ferrying company, services them, as the company struck work five days ago in the two states over a dues-related row.
According to SIS officials, cash management major National Cash Register (NCR), which outsourced them the job in Jharkhand and Bihar, stopped paying them since October 2013.
A senior official of SBI (ATM channel) confirmed cash loading had been suspended in several ATMs due to a “monetary dispute” between the NCR and SIS. Cash is available only in those ATMs where the bank directly loads it or has a different money-ferrying firm catering to it, such as Divolt or Cash Management Services.
“We are trying to remove bottleneck by mediating between our main vendor NCR and sub-vendor SIS,” the official, not willing to be named, said.
Of the 121 SBI ATMs in Jamshedpur, SIS services a whopping 106. Of the rest 15, SBI services seven directly, while another vendor, Cash Management Services, supplies money to eight. The huge numbers of SBI ATMs under the ambit of SIS in Jamshedpur explains why the city SBI consumers are so badly hit.
The situation is less acute in Ranchi. In the capital, of the 203 SBI ATMs, NCR — and its vendor SIS — service only 95. So, although more than half the ATMs are not facing a direct cash crunch, the pressure on them has definitely increased.
SIS assistant manager (operations) Afsar Ali, who manages the agency’s Jamshedpur unit, came on record to say they had not been loading cash at SBI ATMs since five days as they were obeying instructions from their Patna headquarters.
“NCR, which gave us the contract to load cash at SBI ATMs, has not paid our company its dues since October 2013. Crores are left pending. Our company had no option but to stop cash loading,” Ali said, adding SIS puts over Rs 10 crore in cash at SBI ATMs in Jamshedpur every day.
Dry ATMs have led customers griping. “I have an account with SBI Sonari branch and frequently use ATM services. Since three days, I can’t withdraw cash. Even the security guard said no cash is coming,” software professional Pavan Kumar Dubey of Kagalnagar, Sonari, said. “I can go to any other ATM to withdraw money, but for every swipe, I will lose Rs 20,” he rued.
Homemaker Sunita Sharma added that after a long time she stood in a queue in SBI Bistupur on Tuesday to withdraw money by cheque.