Irfan A Mir

Srinagar, April 17 (KNS): Soon after central government announced the credit of rupees 500 each to over 4.07 crore Jan Dhan account holders across the country, banks in Kashmir Valley are witnessing huge flow of customers in wake of lockdown prompting authorities to close banks in parts of Kashmir to prevent spread of Covid-19.

According to Kashmir News Service (KNS), the finance ministry of central government has credited the first installment of Rs 500 to over four crore Jan Dhan account holders of poor women under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) as part of relief package in view of countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26 stated that ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 would be credited to women Jan Dhan account holders for the next three months, starting from April.

However soon after the amount started being credited, bulk of customers across Kashmir Valley has started to visit banks for verification and enquiry for personal satisfaction which however breached lockdown orders in several parts of Valley.

From past few days, long queues of customers were seen visiting banks without taking precautionary measures into account. Though authorities used it’s every effort to aware visitors from repercussions of mass gatherings in wake of Covid-19 pandemic situation and appealed people to come outside only in case of any dire exigency but it didn’t work on ground. In parts of north and south Kashmir, people thronged banks to verify whether Rs 500 has been credited or not.

Despite authorities provided chairs to banks and medical shops in several parts of Valley placed at a two meter distance to each other in order to maintain social distance in wake of Covid-19 pandemic whose pace of spreading in Kashmir much faster than other parts of country. However due to flow of customers, several banks across Kashmir Valley have suspended its operation to prevent from getting sucked into deadly virus.

When KNS contacted J&K Bank’s Officiating Executive President Ghulam Nabi Teli, he said we too are worried about the mess because we don’t know who among the visitors would be Covid-19 infected?

He said though some branches have been provided Personnel Protection Gear (PPG) kits to deal with customers in a professional manner but majority of units are lacking the facility. He also said banks are updating its customers about the developments via Short Message Services (SMS’s) but still people in large numbers are visiting banks to verify the development physically.

He said being a vital institution, Jammu and Kashmir Bank is all time available to serve its people. “Bank is functioning 24×7 and our manpower is taking required precautions in current situation while dealing with customers”, Teli said. (KNS)

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