Coronavirus Outbreak: Odisha Urges RBI To Ensure Cash Availability In Banks, ATMs

Bhubaneswar: The entire focus of the Odisha government is now on containing the outbreak of Coronavirus and the State Finance department on Friday urged Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure availability of sufficient cash in banks & ATMs

In a letter to RBI’s regional director in Bhubaneswar, the State Finance Department Secretary cum-DIF, PK Biswal highlighted that Odisha government is taking several proactive measures in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak.

From upgrading healthcare sector to social protection measures including establishment of isolation centres, payment of ex-gratia and release of old age pension in advance will involve substantial disbursement from the treasuries. “Since it is a crucial time, public may also require more cash in hand. Keeping this in view, it is requested to make available sufficient cash in the currency chests, bank branches, ATM counters across the State to meet the exigencies. It may be ensured that no bank/ATM counter goes without cash in near future,” Biswal wrote in his letter.

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The move came after many expressed apprehensions over ATMs running dry in the wake of shutdowns as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus.

As per the latest update, the total number of positive cases of COVID19 in India now stands at 223 (including 32 foreigners) while there have been 4 deaths (1 each) in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. Two positive cases have been reported from Odisha.

Odisha government has augmented its resources for combating the situation and has already ordered closure of schools, colleges, educational and religious institutions as a precautionary measure.

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Besides, congregation of more than seven persons has been banned in public places while opening of shops, markets have been regulated from 6 AM to 6 PM as a precautionary measure against Coronavirus.

Earlier, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had extended support to Prime Minister’s call for ‘Janta Curfew’ on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance today released pending basic grant of Rs 186.58 crore for Urban Local Bodies in Odisha. This is in accordance with Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s letter to PM Modi for the release of basic and performance grants for all the 114 urban local bodies in the State.