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Tuesday, Aug 17, 2004

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Staff transfers needed for rural schemes: IBA chief

C.R. Sukumar

Karimnagar (A.P.) , Aug. 16

THE Chairman of the Indian Banks' Association (IBA), Mr V. Leeladhar, has appealed to the unions and associations of the bank staff and officers to immediately withdraw the proposed nation-wide strike on August 24.

He urged them to extend full cooperation to the efforts currently being initiated towards addressing the serious problems of the farming community across the country. Mr Leeladhar, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Union Bank of India (UBI), asked the banking industry to come to the rescue of farming community which requires relief.

Speaking to Business Line here on the eve of the UBI's credit disbursing fortnight programme for enhancing agriculture credit on Saturday, he said the IBA was confident that the bank unions would come to an agreement on the issues pertaining to wages and computerisation.

Terming the issue of `mobility' as the only hurdle now between the unions and IBA, Mr Leeladhar said the IBA would meet the representatives of the staff and officers for fresh round of talks on August 19. "What we are saying is that the banks should have the right to transfer the staff within the State from pockets of surplus to deficit, so that the banks can effectively implement the specially prepared schemes for addressing the problems of the rural economy," Mr Leeladhar said.

According to the IBA Chairman, the problem is mainly with the staff unions and not with the officers, since the officers were mandated to compulsorily work in rural areas for at least a period of three years, which is not so with the clerical staff.

According to Mr Leeladhar, the IBA has told the unions that the PSBs require people in rural branches. "We are not interested in harassing the staff by pushing them to far away rural places. Once the unions agree on the issue of mobility, we will sit with them and formulate the guidelines on transfers."

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