The Maharashtra State Bank Employees’ Federation (MSBEF) has written to the State Government, seeking deployment of police personnel at the entrance of all bank branches to regulate customers amid the outbreak of Covid-19.

This request comes in the backdrop of customers turning up in large numbers over the last two days at the branches of public sector banks in rural and semi-urban areas to withdraw salary and pension and get disbursement of ex-gratia through Jan Dhan accounts. This rush is expected to continue this week as well, the federation said.

“We request for the deployment of one police (personnel) each at the entrance gate of all the branches to regulate the rush and also to ensure that sufficient distance (between customers in the queue and between customers and bank staff) is maintained.

“We also propose for the medical or paramedical staff at the entrance to verify whether the customers have symptoms of coronavirus, thus enabling the government to deal with the pandemic more effectively,” said Devidas Tuljapurkar, General Secretary, MSBEF, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Tuljapurkar also requested the Chief Minister, who is also the Chairman of the State-Level of Bankers’ Committee, to advise bank managements to make travel arrangements in the Mumbai Metro Region to enable employees reach their work place.

He pointed out that in Mumbai more than 140 areas are quarantined, operation of the suburban service is suspended, and frequency of BEST buses is drastically reduced, thereby making it difficult for bank employees to reach their work place.

Subhash S Sawant, General Secretary, All-India Central Bank Employees Congress, said Central Bank of India employees should be provided health and life cover with effect from April 1. In this regard, Sawant said the rush at bank branches is making it difficult to follow social distancing measures and is exposing staff at the ground level to the critical risk of Covid-19 infection.