No filling of cash in ATMs after 8pm, govt tells banks

ATM Machine--621x414Increasing incidents of loot of cash carrying vans have prompted the government to issue an instruction that ATMs should not be replenished with cash after 8pm in cities.

The deadline for putting cash in ATMs in rural areas would be 5pm and 3pm in the Maoist-infested districts.

The private transportation agencies have been asked to collect cash from banks in the early working hours of the day.

According to reports, specially designed cash vans equipped with CCTVs and GPS, must not carry more than Rs 5 crore per trip. It has been suggested that two armed guards and driver in each such van must be trained to thwart any attempt of looting the vehicle and drive vehicles to safety.

The fresh guidelines are part of the new standard operating procedure (SoPs) proposed by the Home Ministry for private security agencies entrusted with the task of carrying cash and replenishing them in ATMs. Sources said, nearly 8,000 private vans ferry around Rs 15,000 crore everyday between banks, currency chests and ATMs across the country.

An additional Rs 5,000 crore is held up overnight by private security agencies in their private cash vaults on behalf of the banks. The SoPs have been prepared after a spurt in attacks, hijacking and looting of cash vans which are seen as soft targets.

The new SOPs have proposed that a cash van cannot carry more than Rs 5 crore. The agencies have been asked to deploy specially designed and secure cash vans for carrying cash of over Rs 5 lakh per trip.

All cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities must only be carried out by operational staff who have undergone thorough antecedent check.

The state controlling authorities for Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (2005) have been advised to enforce the above guidelines on all cash van agencies and review compliance from time to time.

The vans must have two independent compartments, with the one for storing cash to be separated and locked from passenger compartment and the cash compartment being specially reinforced with steel and with one door which can be opened internally through a manual or electronic lock.

Licensed private security would be responsible to comply with the checks before an individual is allowed to participate in cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment operations. The government, in an attempt to ensure untoward incident-free cash transfer activity, has asked agencies to impart training and certify all personnel involved in cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities.

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