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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: These are now testing times for people of Odisha as banking services are yet to be fully restored even after seven days of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani which hit several coastal districts of the State on May 3.

As extensive damage has been caused to power supply and internet infrastructure, several banks are yet to operate at their full capacity in cyclone-affected districts including Puri, Khurda, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Though a few ATMs are operating in the affected districts, lack of adequate cash and long serpentine queues have compounded the miseries of people. Besides, intense heat and humid conditions is also causing lot of hardship for people at ATM kiosks.

“Only a few ATMs are functioning in the city and only after standing in queue for over 30 minutes, we could withdraw cash. We need cash to make necessary payments and also meet daily expenses,” said Sambit Mohapatra, a resident of Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, Odisha government today informed that banking services in the cyclone Fani-hit districts will be normalised by May 13 (Monday). At a high-level meeting of the State Level Bankers' Committee (SLBC) held under the chairmanship of Odisha chief secretary, it has been decided to set up 15 mobile ATM counters in Puri and 10 in Bhubaneswar.

The banks have been asked to replicate the Kerala flood- model with some modification of providing loans with minimum documentation. Similarly, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik today directed that all government offices to remain open on May 11 and 12 (second Saturday and Sunday) to expedite relief and restoration works.

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