Companies providing high security vehicles to banks for cash transfer have been under pressure in the wake of the government’s demonetisation move. These firms have now deployed more vehicles and additional staff to meet the demand for more cash and clearance by the banks.
Manager of Brinks Arya Security Services Rajeev Rajput said that his company was intimated only at 5 pm on Wednesday to clear the ATMs of the now defunct notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. “On Thursday, we covered 90 per cent of ATMs removing the cash. This exercise continued till 3 am Friday. We also faced difficulties depositing because some of the notes were torn and rough,” he said. Brinks Arya provides its services to HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Union Bank and Bank of India.
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“We are facing a lot of problem due to lack of time. Right now we have 15 vans which cover 8 to 10 banks daily and 280 ATMs,” said Rajput.
Another leading cash van services provider Checkmate pressed 57 vans into service to meet the demand. Capt Akshoni Kumar Malik, senior general manager at Checkmate Services Pvt Ltd, said duties of the drivers were charted judiciously. “If one driver is covering a long route today, we give him a short route the next day so that he doesn’t tire. This is an extraordinary situation which calls for national rethinking. So, we must think out of the box solutions”, said Malik, who had worked with the Army.
The company bought 35 more vehicles and hire one gunman, one loader and a driver to meet the situation. “Bigger the cash, more the workforce,” he said.
Anil Dobaria, 38, state head of Writer Safeguard Pvt Ltd, talked about heavy rush due to the “sudden decision”. “We have a tie-up with 16 banks that includes co-operative, public and government banks. All banks are asking for our services, simultaneously. It is nearly impossible to meet the demand overnight. Still, we are trying out best to serve. Besides raising the cash vans to 47 from 30, we have deployed 35 per cent more manpower in these two days. Regular working duration of nine hours has gone to 13-14 hours in the past few days. Instead of two, we are sending three security guards now with each van”, said Dobaria.
He said since there was limitation of how much cash one could carry in one sortie, a van now has to go three times to a single branch. “It is taking more time to reach the banks on the outskirts, but everything will run smooth at ATMs in a couple of days,” Dobaria said.
Surjit Singh Bisht, branch head of SIS Prosegur, called it a task of “higher responsibility and accountability” for logistics service providers to ensure cash at all the ATMs of their client banks in Ahmedabad. “No day is a day of leisure in our services. We have to be alert 24×7 in all the transits, and so the risk is the same as we faced earlier”.
He said the company had received requests from banks other than its clients to provide services, but they did not accept because it was difficult to meet demand of the existing clients. “Our staff is working for 15-20 hrours instead of 8-10 hours earlier. Besides, we have recruited 25-30 per cent more staff members and deployed additional vehicles”.
Avinash Pandey, executive fleet at SIS Prosegur, said, “Some of the staff are losing on sleep for the last two-three days, we adjust their trips accordingly”.
Van driver Mukesh Barot is one such person who said he has not slept for two nights. “The responsibility and the pressure is at the peak, but we are being paid for extra hours.”