Discussions on to restructure loans, ease insurance claim settlement in Fani-hit Odisha

Bhubaneswar: A review meeting chaired by Union Finance Ministry Additional Secretary Debasish Panda was held today in Odisha in which emphasis was laid on revival of banking and insurance services in the cyclone Fani-affected areas of the State.

Odisha Finance department secretary Ashok Meena, officials of banks, insurance companies, telecom operators, RBI and SLBC were also present in the meeting which discussed ways to expedite insurance claim settlement in affected areas and full restoration of banking services.

Speaking to media after the review meeting, the secretaries informed that in the six cyclone-hit districts, 1,934 out of 1,992 bank branches have already started operation. Apart from ATMs of Cooperative and Grameen Bank branches, nearly 2000 ATMs out of the total 2,921 of all other banks have been restored.

“As of now, 99 percent brick and mortar branches are up and running. Those branch buildings which have been damaged in the cyclone will take some time for repair,” informed Union Secretary Debasish Panda.

“As far as ATMs are concerned, there have been problems in connectivity due to widespread damage to VSAT machines in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack. By end of this week, almost 90 percent of them will become functional,” the secretary said.

“As far as insurance is concerned, all insurers and IRDA, the regulator, have put a relaxed system in place to ease the claim settlement process,” he said.

State Finance secretary Ashok Meena said, “Normalcy is already coming to several places except in Puri where still only 27 to 28 percent of ATMs are working. We hope that as soon as power is restored, ATMs will resume service. Under the RBI’s master circular, the process of loan restructuring and lowering of interest rates was also discussed.”