Bengaluru: How safe are the ATMs in the city for those using them, when even the security guards themselves get targeted by miscreants? The recent incident of a guard being bludgeoned to death at a Union Bank of India’s ATM in Vijinapura in K.R. Puram raises several questions regarding the safety measures adopted at these kiosks. The miscreants had tied and gagged the guard, Minnat Utta Barbhuya, hailing from Assam, before killing him.
The city police had retrieved CCTV footage that revealed a failed attempt of an unidentified miscreant, attempting to break open the ATM, but the investigations so far has not led to a breakthrough on at least finding the identity of the culprit or the motive for murder.
“Deploying security guards in shifts for each ATM in the city is not the solution,” said K. Preetham Lal, Convener of the State Level Banker’s Committee. “The police have to tackle crimes using their methods to bring down such incidents,” he said.
In the aftermath of a brutal attack on Jyothi Uday, 44, in a Corporation Bank ATM kiosk on J.C. Road in November 2013, there was a public uproar and police had issued security guidelines for banks to follow. It included deployment of security guards at every ATMs and also called for security agencies to revamp their recruitment, training and background checks of guards.
Security guard sleeping inside an ATM on Dinnur Main Road at R.T. Nagar (Photo: R. SAMUEL, SATISH B.)
There are nearly 3,000 ATMs in the city, which are housed in cafes, take-away restaurants, bakeries, car garages etc. In these cases the onus of security falls on the owner of the merchant establishments and banks pay a rent.
These ATMs close once the business outlets close for the day. Despite the elaborate guidelines issued to banks and security agencies deploying guards at ATMs, safety continues to be lax at these kiosks. They are a disaster waiting to happen.
DC investigates: unguarded ATM Kiosks in the city
Deccan Chronicle did a reality check assigning its photojournalists to do night rounds in the city to take stock of the safety measures at ATMs and the findings were far from reassuring.
Banashankari: Around three to four ATMs were unguarded without any security guards in the vicinity. At one of the ATMs, there was no guard, but our photojournalist spotted three people inside the ATM kiosk, with one of them operating the machine.
An ATM in Banashankari without a security guard (Photo: R. SAMUEL, SATISH B.)
Cantonment Railway Station Junction: While the guard was fast asleep, stray dogs seemed keen to guard the ATM kiosk. There were three different banks ATMs, all located nearby, while one was unguarded and the door was ajar, the other ATM had a guard sleeping inside it, while the third one had the another guard sleeping outside it.
Ballary Road (From Mekhri Circle To Hebbal): Out of eight ATMs located in this stretch, six of them did not have any security guard, while two had guards, but were snoozing inside the kiosk.
R.T. Nagar: Dinnur Main Road: There were nine ATMs on this stretch. Only in one of them the guard was awake and alert. Two had downed their shutters. Six ATMs had no security guards, while one kiosk had a guard who was fast asleep. On R.T. Nagar main road, there were four ATMs located close to each other and there were two guards sleeping inside one ATM, while all the other three were unguarded.
BTM Layout: There were five ATMs, two near Silk Board junction, two near AXA building and one near Udupi Hotel junction. All had security guards, but none of them were awake.
Koramangala: Out of eight ATMs, two had guards, but were asleep, while four had no guards. Two kiosks had downed shutters.