HYDERABAD: For more than a month, all ATMs in Jubilee Hills, Madhapur, Hi-tec City and Gachibowli have failed to produce cash for the customers in the late hours of the night. What’s surprising is that the same ATMs are perfectly functional during the day.
Denizens in Cyberabad are at loss at the non-functional ATMs post-midnight. “I was driving from Jubilee Hills checkpost at around 1 am and I wanted to withdraw some cash to pay for my food. However, to my utter dismay, none of the ATMs was working. En route to Hi-tec City, I checked nearly 15 ATMs of SBI, ICICI, Citi Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank, among others, but I couldn’t draw money. I thought there was something wrong with my card but the next morning, it was working perfectly normal and I was able to withdraw money,” explained Naresh Kumar, an agitated State Bank customer.
This was not an isolated incident as several people have complained about the non-functional ATMs after midnight in Cyberabad area. “How can they call themselves 24/7 if they can’t provide services to the customers at all times? How are we expected to withdraw cash in times of emergency if none of the ATMs functions after midnight?” fumed Keshav Parthasarathy, a resident of Hi-tec City.
When questioned, A Gopinath, AGM-PR, SBI, said the RBI had given a directive to banks to remain non-functional between 12 am and 4 am to save energy and prevent thefts. “Not many people visit ATMs after midnight and in light of many thefts taking place inside the ATMs, the RBI has directed that ATMs of all banks, except those near hospitals and railway stations, to be non-functional between 12 am and 4 am. While some banks implemented this straightaway, SBI had decided to follow these guidelines from October,” he said.
Ironically, none of these ATMs is shut in the night. It is just that customers cannot draw money. “After receiving complaints from various customers, we have decided to revoke this policy. SBI ATMs will remain operational 24/7 to the customers,” Gopinath said. “We have not received any directive from the RBI. As far as our bank is concerned, if the ATM does not produce cash at night, it will not issue cash in the morning as well. There is no question of disabling services for a few hours,” clarified Krishnamurthy, AGM, Andhra Bank.