THOUBAL: The State Bank of India, Lilong Unit has been offering uninterrupted service to its customers with the usual efficacy even during the hours of panic caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions under the 21-day nationwide lockdown. Regular facilities including cash deposit and withdrawal, clearing of cheques, remittances and government transaction are being provided to the customers.
Evidently, the shadow of the global pandemic is visible in the operation of business there. Under the guidelines of the Regional Business Office of SBI, the services are provided on alternate days for the time being since March 24, 2020. Also, the rules of social distancing stipulated by the government are being enforced stringently for the safety of one and all. A maximum of four persons are allowed to enter the banking hall at one time while the subsequent group of costumers waits for their turns outside, standing in a queue within the confines of marked spots which are maintained one behind the other at a safe gap. Before gaining entry into the bank premises, the costumers are required to wash their hands with soaps and water and then undergo another round of safety exercise by rubbing their hands with sanitizer liquid provided by the security personnel posted at the gate. The individuals without masks who had to enter the building are provided the masks by the branch office. Staffs at the bank counter also adopt precautionary measure by using hand sanitizers at the time of handling cash notes.
In addition, the Lilong branch of SBI in association with the Lilong Bazar Development Committee had organized a sanitization drive at the market and adjoining areas on last March 27 by spraying disinfectants to combat spread of infectious viruses.
Branch manager Keisham Bimolkumar stated that as banks are encompassed under essential services it is required to function and provide financial service to the costumers under strict adherence to the safety norms set up by the administration as an exigency measure during the lockdown. He appealed to the public not to construe the lockdown as imposition of a hardship but accept it as a requirement and abide by the instructions from officials so that the impact of the virus can be avoided with a united effort. He encouraged the customers to opt for digital transactions as much as possible.
Pointing out the problems encountered by the staffs of the bank in the process to attend office, he stated that on the route they are checked by security personnel and sometime prevented to move further if they accidentally forget to bring along their curfew passes, even after showing their identity cards issued by the banks. Moreover, petrol for running the generator at the office and filling their vehicles are often hard to find resulting in great inconveniences. As the government considers the banks as a part of essential service and to ensure efficient functioning the shortcomings of the staffs and at the offices due to the lockdown and the curfew should be dealt with appropriately, Bimol stated in his petition to the administration.