The Reserve Bank of India has, in principle, given the go-ahead to a proposal to set up automated teller machines (ATMs) at police stations across Gujarat.
“Out of nearly 1,200 police stations in the State, 300 are in urban areas where these ATMs can be opened,” S.K. Nanda, Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department), told Business Line here on Tuesday.
However, he said, the State Government has not identified any particular bank to embed the ATMs at police stations. “It is for the RBI and the banks to do so,” he said.
The move, apparently, was mooted in view of, among other things, a recent spate of incidents in which criminals either damaged unguarded ATMs, tried to uproot these machines, or simply decamped with these. In one incident, the criminals, despite taking away an ATM at night, could not break it open. Besides, there have also been reports of the people being robbed just outside ATMs.
At a meeting of the Home Department and regional RBI officials last week it was found that more steps were needed to make the ATMs theft-proof. Embedding ATMs in police stations itself was found to be an innovative idea and got support from officials. The Home Department, too, offered the banks place in the police station premises for this purpose.
But the Home Department is asking for a quid pro quo from the banks in return for offering space for ATMs. The banks would equip police stations with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, furniture and water coolers, among other facilities.
A bank official said the people would feel safer to use an ATM in a police station premises.
Many ATMs do not have security guards, or even air-conditioners, as the banks try to cut costs. With police stations having ATMs, they would no longer need to have security guards at such places.