Life in cyclone hit West Bengal region has been returning to normal, but people are struggling with multiple issues like lack of portable water, electricity supply and other essentials, including ATMs.
ATMs of all leading banks including SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC and ICICI have been malfunctioning or out of service due to broken links or power failure.
Heavy rains and storms in the region affected nearly 150 ATMs of SBI. Most ATMs had network connectivity problems, as the ATM backbone comprising of underground and overhead wires were damaged. The bank has overall 575 ATMs in West Bengal. Quoting a senior SBI official, "In most places our service providers have connection through overhead or underground wires. They were severely damaged in the storm and torrential rain."
The official also added, "A special team was set up that worked round the clock to restore the links. As on Wednesday evening 30 ATMs in Kolkata and South 24 Parganas were still out of service."
A senior official of United Bank of India said, "We have 175 ATMs in West Bengal. Many of them in South 24 Parganas are inaccessible due to the cyclone. In Kolkata, though, we have been able to tackle the problem of link failure. Power cuts in most parts of the city have rendered the machines useless."
Commenting on the situation, an Axis Bank official said, "All the banks faced this problem. Normalcy was restored by Wednesday afternoon."
The cyclone Aila had raged over the Bay of Bengal on Sunday, about 350 km southeast of Sagar island with heavy downpour, disputing normal life and damaging property.