Hyderabad: As many as 1,300 bank employees approximately have died across the country till date in the second wave of COVID-19, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) said.
This was stated in the letter to Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) Chief Executive Sunil Mehta by AIBEA General Secretary Ch Venkatachalam on Thursday, a copy of which was mailed to UNI tonight.
Venkatachalam said you (Sunil Mehta) are well aware that for the past one year, the corona virus wave is sweeping the country and people and banks are no exception to it. Despite various guidelines, precautionary steps, the number of bank employees who got infected during the first spell is quite high as bank branches are hotspots of presence of all types of people in the premises.
Not only regular customers, but others also throng bank branches for various services. The result was that number of bank employees lost their precious lives due to this Covid-19 infection.
He said we came across a communication from IBA to the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance which said 600 bank employees have died due to Covid-19 as on Feburary 1, 2021. This has risen to 1,300 now.
Thus, we observe that while the number of people infected under the second wave is increasing in the country as a whole, its toll in the banking sector is much higher, especially in the number of deaths. This is creating a lot of scare and panic amongst the bank employees, he added.
Venkatachalam said our (AIBEA) appeals to treat bank employees under priority for vaccination was not taken seriously by the Central Government and now only some ‘requests’ are being sent to the State Governments.
Even now, there is no directive to this effect from the Central Government. Bank employees feel ignored by the Government while they have been doing their duty and serving the people with all the risks, he added.
The AIBEA General Secretary said Bank employees are also facing innumerable problems in commuting to their branches/offices due to restrictions by the various State Governments through curfews, lockdown, withdrawal of public transport, etc.
Many employees and officers have faced humiliation, ill-treatment, manhandling, abuses, from the local police personnel while they were travelling to their branches or while on return, he said, adding that the situation has become so bad that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to write to the Chief Ministers to take personal attention not to impede the movement of bank employees.
We are extremely thankful to her for this communication of concern and comfort to bank staff. We only hope that the State Governments will do something about this, Venkatachalam said.