AIBEA/GS/2015/34 June 15, 2015
Shri. Narendra Modi,
Hon. Prime Minister
Government of India
Respected Prime Minister Sir,
On behalf of the All India Bank Employees’ Association, the oldest and largest trade union of bank employees in our country, we wish to bring to your notice and draw you attention to the following increasing problems being faced by the officers and employees of the Banks.
Thanks to nationalisation of Banks, today Public Sector Banks have proliferated so much that even in many remote rural areas, Bank branches have been opened and we are serving the common masses. Public Sector Banks have been in the forefront in extending all types of banking services including bank credit to priority sectors. The remarkable performance of Public Sector Banks in the recent Prime Minister’s Jan Dhan Yojana is a classic example of their contributions in implementing the various Government schemes unmindful of the stress and strain that officers and employees face in the process. We shall continue to do so because we are committed to the philosophy of public sector banking as instruments of nation building.
But of late, we observe that the Branch Managers, officers and employees in the Banks are subjected to various external pressures and harassments and the staff become the target of attack without any reason.
You will appreciate that bank officers and employees join the Banks for their employment, career and above all, for their livelihood. They must be able to do their job freely as per the prescribed rules and procedures, particularly, in the matter of implementing Government schemes and also in sanction of loans.
But, please permit us to point out, Sir, that Managers, officers and employees in various Branches, especially in the rural areas, are working under increasing pressures, threats, intimidations, physical assaults, etc. They become the victims and butt of anger of political whims and not unoften at the hands of the higher management also. Thus, they are between devil and deep sea. The situation is very disturbing and a matter of serious concern to us.
We take the liberty to encroach upon your precious time and to draw your kind attention to a recent incident in Maharashtra details of which have appeared in the newspapers today as under.
IANS | Amravati (Maharashtra) June 15, 2015
Maharashtra farmer's suicide: Bank manager held responsible!
In an unprecedented move, the Police has booked the branch manager of nationalised bank as responsible for the recent suicide here of a farmer, an official said here on Monday.
The accused, Santosh Kumar (37), is the manager of the Bank Of Maharashtra's Morshi Branch in the district, and has secured an anticipatory bail in the case.
Strangely, even before the FIR pertaining to abettment of suicide was lodged against Kumar, the BoM management suspended him - to which the bank's union has cried foul.
In his anticipatory bail plea, Santosh Kumar contended that he is being victimized and harassed since he refused to abide by the diktats of local Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Morshi Anil S. Bonde, whom he did not name.
"All this is totally unacceptable. We have lodged a strong protest with the bank management. We have demanded BoM to take up the matter with the highest level in the government and other concerned bodies," an agitated Sunil Deshpande, president of the Officers' Organisation (BOMOO), told IANS.
Deshpande said that a farmer, Sudhir Gawande (40) of Nashirpur village, and some others had approached the branch manager for further farm loans on Friday noon.
However, since the existing loan account - which was in the name of Gawande's father, Wamanrao Gawande, who is alive, showed an outstanding of around Rs.400,000, he was asked to come later.
"He went home and late Friday evening, we learnt that he consumed liquor and then hanged himself in his home. The local villagers did not allow his funeral to be completed that night and even the next morning (Saturday) till the police registered a complaint against Santosh Kumar," BOMOO deputy general secretary Sunil Rajkarne, based in Amravati, told IANS.
Bowing to demands by local politicians, including Bonde and Shetkari Sanghatana leader Sanjay Kolhe and even officials from the district collectorate, the Amravati police lodged a FIR against Santosh Kumar on Saturday.
"How can a bank branch manager be held responsible for any customer's - in this case, the farmer's - suicide? If this kind of hounding continues, it will be very difficult for bankers to work in such suicide-prone regions in the country," Deshpande declared.
The bank union moved swiftly and the next day, moved an anticipatory bail application in Amravati district court, which was granted to Santosh Kumar.
"This is sheer political vendetta against an upright officer hailing from Bihar as he refused to obey the diktats of the local legislator Bonde," Rajkarne fumed.
He said that on May 9, Bonde had called Santosh Kumar and asked him to sanction a crop loan for the farmer, which the bank manager refused as it would be irregular and against the rules.
"At that time, Bonde asked me where I was and I informed him that I was at the railway station waiting to catch a train to Patna, my home town. Shockingly, he ordered me to 'remain in Patna and never return' to Morshi," Santosh Kumar told IANS.
When contacted, Bonde admitted that he may "have said something on these lines in a fit of anger" as most bank officials in entire Vidarbha lack interest in working for the farmers.
"Santosh Kumar is especially notorious for being insensitive to farmers issues and I have received many complaints from farmers against him," Bonde told IANS, adding that he asked him (Kumar) to work with dedication since he has come all the way from Bihar.
Bonde said he has plans to launch an agitation against all bank officers in the Vidarbha region who are working against the farmers' interests.
Both Rajkarne and Deshpande feel Santosh Kumar is being targeted and victimized as the legislator's ego was bruised by his upright behavior.
However, they pointed out that the suspension, police FIR and subsequent hounding of the bank officer sends a very negative message to the entire banking industry.
On Monday afternoon, Rajkarne led a delegation to the Bank Of Maharashtra Zonal Office and demanded revocation of Santosh Kumar's suspension failing which they would launch an agitation.
Please advise the Home Ministry to ensure the withdrawal of the FIR against the Manager. Please advise the Finance Ministry to ensure withdrawal of the suspension of the innocent Manager.
Thanking you, Sir,