Worried customers gathered around various banks as the Noida Authority began the sealing drive against commercial establishments in residential areas on Wednesday.
The first day of the drive was confined to Sector-19,which has 21 commercial banks,an insurance company,a guest house,a playschool and a placement agency on residential plots.
Eight banks were sealed and 13 were given time to wrap up their activities,Noida officials said.
Of the eight banks sealed,seven had already shut operations. Vijaya Bank was still operational,so we had to clear out the employees and then seal it. The other 13 banks gave us written affidavits saying that they were in the process of shifting and needed a couple of days like allowing people to close bank accounts and lockers. Since we want to cause minimum inconvenience to the public we have allowed them time, an official said.
United India Insurance also submitted a similar affidavit and was given time to shut shop; Shamrock playschool,Rai Residency guesthouse and a placement agency were sealed.
The customers,meanwhile,wondered about the fate of their valuables in bank lockers.
Mahesh Yadav,a customer of Vijaya Bank,said,I do not know what will happen now. I have important papers relating to my family business in the locker,and it is sealed. There is only a notice on the front door which says that the bank has been shut down and will shift soon. But,I will need them next week,and the bank authorities arent here to explain.
The Noida Authority said if the sealed banks submitted an application confirming that they were in the process of shifting and wanted time to allow their customers to remove valuables,an extension will be granted.
We are trying to keep things as flexible as possible. If they send us an application,we will allow them to conduct activities relating to moving out. However,we will extend the sealing drive to other sectors tomorrow, said Captain S K Dwivedi,CEO of Noida Authority.
Confusion over SC order
The Noida Authority held a meeting with its legal team on Tuesday and confirmed the validity of the sealing of the banks in the area. It said the six weeks given to banks,in a Supreme Court order dated January 23,to relocate did not mean that they could continue to function.
However,officials of Bank of Maharashtra and SBI submitted petitions in the Supreme Court on Wednesday,asking for a clarification on the order. We respect the courts verdict,(but) we still maintain that they have granted us six weeks,not only to move,but also to continue to function from our plots, an SBI official said.