Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today pulled up the bankers in the state for failing to effectively address the situation in wake of demonetisation, even as they resented the "unwanted interference" of the state government in their functioning.
A government press release said the Chief Minister lashed out at the bankers during a review meeting at the Police Command Control Centre here this afternoon over the continued hardship being faced by people even three weeks after scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.
"We are forced to remain helpless because of your non-cooperation despite reviewing the situation daily in the morning and evening," Chandrababu rued and warned the bankers that any "lackadaisical attitude" would not be tolerated.
However, what provoked the Chief Minister for such an outburst was the banks' refusal to work on last Saturday and Sunday for issuing RuPay cards and activating more Jan Dhan accounts.
Krishna district Collector Babu A was said to have issued an oral order asking banks in the district to operate on Saturday and Sunday but the bankers refused to oblige, saying they had no such orders from their higher authorities.
Being the fourth Saturday of the month, banks remained shut not only in Krishna district but also across the state.
A peeved Babu reportedly complained about this to the Chief Minister and the latter vent his ire at the bankers during the review meeting today.
Incidentally, top officials of the banks stopped attending the review meetings being held twice daily by the Chief Minister and also the marathon tele and video conferences he has been conducting for over 15 days now.
Bankers are miffed with the Chief Minister for "overstepping his jurisdiction" and issuing orders in contravention of the guidelines being issued by RBI and their own banks.
"We cannot obviously follow his orders as we are answerable only to our management and the RBI. But he doesn't understand that and asks us to do what he says," an assistant general manager of a top public sector bank pointed out.
After two meetings, the AGM stopped attending the reviews by Chandrababu.
In fact, almost all banks are now sending only their "representatives" for the review meetings "only to mark our presence".
So much so that the Chief Minister's Office too stopped naming the bankers attending the reviews.
Interestingly, at an emergency meeting of the State Level Bankers Committee last week, the Chief Minister referred to reports that the 'bankers were not pleased with CM for invading their turf' and said "I am not bothered about such criticism. I am only helping as a matter of fact and the only issue is to resolve people's problems".
Against this backdrop, the Chief Minister today warned bankers to "not play with people's lives" and bring disrepute to the government.