122 ATMs continue to operate without security guards

Despite the seven unguarded Automatic-Teller-Machines (ATMs) which were looted in the last ten months ,under the police commissionerate’s jurisdiction, the city police is yet to learn. 122 ATMs of the city continue to not have proper security.

The jurisdiction of the additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP-2) has the maximum number of ATMs. It has 209 ATMs out of total 389 kiosks in the city. According to information gathered from the police, amongst the 209 ATM’s in the ADCP-2 jurisdiction, 56 don’t have a guard in the day or night. Similarly, in the area of ADCP-1, 66 of 180 kiosks remain unguarded.

Four of the last seven heists happened in the jurisdiction of ADCP-2.

Police station seven jurisdiction has 50 ATMs, the maximum, followed by Sadar police station which has 41 under its jurisdiction. Both police stations come under the area of ADCP-II. In the area, 13 and 10 ATMs don’t have security guards.

In 2015, the robbers looted Rs 9.98 lakh from a State Bank of India ATM at Jandiala on October 6, and on September 26, three robbers, including a girl, had uprooted Punjab National Bank ATM containing Rs 4.46 lakh at Sarhali village.

An FIR was registered in both cases at the Sadar police station.The ATM robbery on Wednesday was reported in the police station seven.

A senior police official said they don’t have sufficient manpower in the investigation wing. He said work load has doubled during routine working hours of officials, which has hampered work. He said as the robbers had targeted only locked ATMs and looted cash after uprooting machines or breaking with gas cutters, they needed additional force to guard each ATM.

“Generally, it is the duty of the banks to guard its kiosks. However, since the cash is insured they do not pay heed to security,” he said by adding that people are not interested in registering cases against bank officials, which is a hindrance in tackling the situation.

“The ATM robbers don’t leave any clues, so it has become a challenge to catch them. It is shameful that we have failed to make headway in any case,” he added.

Directions issued

In the view of a spurt in ATM loot incidents, Kapurthala district magistrate (DM), on Thursday, issued strict instructions to banks and non-banking finance firms to deploy full-time guards.

DM said it had been noticed that robbery incidents involving ATM’s, took place where security was the treated as the lowest priority. He said strict action will be initiated against violators for not deploying proper security guards.

DM added that besides private and public sector banks, money changers and financers should manage 24-hour proper security at their premises to avoid such happenings. The order will last till April 10, 2016.

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