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Economic security of people jeopardised due to demonetisation: Mamata Banerjee


Kolkata, Aug 6: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the economic security of the common people has been jeopardised since the introduction of demonetisation and asked the central government to probe reports of ATM frauds.


Banerjee said her party TMC will take up the issue in Parliament "very soon" about the large number of incidents of fraudulent ATM withdrawals in the city and elsewhere. The Finance Ministry should also look into reports of ATM frauds due to which people were affected. Investigations should be held to find out who are behind these frauds, she told reporters here. On the implementation of demonetisation, the TMC chief said, "In a country where there are no bank branches in many remote areas, in a country of poor people, the Centre has introduced plastic economy. Such a move has taken away the economic security of the common people."

"Without crosschecking the situation in the country, they (the Centre) have introduced digital economy putting the common man in great difficulty," Banerjee said. State Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pande, after a meeting with bank and police officials, said banks today said a new mechanism in ATM operation would be introduced by 2020 to prevent frauds.

The meeting was held to discuss ways to restore the confidence of consumers following the incidents of fraudulent withdrawals from ATMs. "Our primary task is to restore the confidence of the panicky consumers and instil in them a feeling that their money is protected," he told reporters.

The minister said he had suggested that all ATMs should be linked with local police stations for direct monitoring to prevent such fraudulent acts. Review of the CCTV camera footage of ATM kiosks should be done on a regular basis by banks, Pande said. The minister said authorities of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have assured cooperation to ensure safe service through ATMs.

A senior police official said two nationalised banks have assured people, who lost their money in fraudulent ATM withdrawals in the city, of repaying their lost amounts. A special investigating team has been formed to probe the incidents and two Romanians were arrested from New Delhi for their alleged involvement in the fraudulent withdrawals from ATMs.

Investigations are on to ascertain whether the two have links with their fellow countrymen held from other cities in similar cases, police said. The two Romanians were brought to the city from New Delhi on transit remand and were remanded to 14 days in police custody on August 5.


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