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SBI says most of Hudhud-hit branches in AP now operational

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

State Bank of India today said it has restored normal operations at almost all the 225 branches affected by the cyclone 'Hudhud' in Andhra Pradesh.

"Of the 225 branches in the affected districts of Visakhapatnam, Vijaynagaram and Srikakulam, as many as 195 branches have been brought to normal as of today with only 30 branches remaining out of bounds," SBI Managing Director for national banking and Group executive B Sriram told PTI.

Out of 502 ATMs in these three districts, 102 are operational now, he said, adding the rest of branches and ATMs will be functional in a week. The bank also has 179 on-site ATMs, of which 29 are in the worst-hit Visakhapatnam city.

Last Sunday, the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were hit by 'Hudhud'. The cyclone caused large- scale damage in Andhra Pradesh, where 38 people have been killed till now.

The bank has started a mobile ATM and 5-6 more such facilities will be operational soon where the branches are still out of service to help people withdraw money.

"Unless we get our branches going at the earliest, people will be unable to do anything as everything comes at a cost and at times like a natural calamity, the cost are very high. The first thing is that you need to have money, otherwise how can you buy basic things...We are still a cash driven economy," Sriram said.

The Managing Director said besides quick restoration of operations in branches, the bank's employees are also involved in clearing the debris in many areas and distribution of food packets and blankets to the victims.

On the operations in Odisha, he said the State was comparatively unaffected and no branch had to be shut there.

"In both (flood-affected) J&K and Andhra, we have found that our employees have risen to the occasion in extending a helping hand," he said.

"In Visakhapatnam, for instance, our staff have started procuring whatever they could and transporting them to the needy people. We have distributed 500 food packets and blankets. Food is being prepared in our staff canteens and the entire operation is being monitored by our General Manager."

He said SBI employees helped in clearing debris in Andhra Pradesh University campus and surrounding areas.

He said SBI General Insurance is also on the ground visiting affected units to assess the damage for early settlement of claims.

In J&K, Sriram said, all the 67 branches in the Valley have been brought back into operations.

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First Published: Fri, October 17 2014. 21:15 IST