CHENNAI: Though all banks have been mandated to provide the visually impaired with all facilities including a debit card, they claim still being denied ATM cards. “After I shifted to Kolapakkam, my ATM card was damaged. There was a time when I had to struggle in order to procure card services. We had to run from pillar to post with RBI documents to sensitise bank employees.
The scenario hasn’t changed and most banks are refusing to provide cards to visually impaired,” said 32-year-old R Kamal. K Valliammal who works as a government teacher concurred. “When I applied for an ATM card, the bank outright rejected saying anybody could rob the money from us while we are withdrawing and that it is not safe.
But that could happen to anyone. Not even 5 per cent of the bank staff even know about this provision.” Valliammal now has to visit the bank each time with the help of her 60-year-old mother to withdraw money.
In 2008, RBI observed that visually impaired cannot be denied the facility of cheque book, locker and ATM on the possibility of risk in operating or using the said facility, as the element of risk is involved in case of other customers as well.
However, for years, visually impaired are being denied ATM cards stating this very reason. V Krishnamurthy, general secretary of visually impaired bank employees association said he gets receivies at least 25 complaints from across Tamil Nadu, every month.
“Every time I have to call up bank employees and make them aware about the RBI rules and Court order, following which they accept. The government must create awareness regarding this.” S Namburajan, state general secretary, TN Association for Rights of All Types of Differently Abled & Caregivers (TARATDAC), said that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has a provision to sensitise officials. “If that is done, things might fall into place and visually impaired will no longer be considered illiterates.”