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By The Board
Wednesday, April 27 2011

Well - we have had our fair share of excuses from UK banks, Pension providers and Endowment Policy providers over loss of investments but this is a good one.... a peril of offshore investment worth considering??

 

India bank termites eat piles of cash

Indian currency The termites are believed to have developed an expensive taste for money

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Staff at an Indian bank have been blamed for allowing termites to eat their way through banknotes worth millions of rupees.

Staff at the bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, are reported to have been found guilty of "laxity".

The insects are believed to have chewed their way through notes worth some 10 million rupees ($225,000/137,000).

A similar incident happened in 2008, when termites in Bihar state ate a trader's savings stored in his bank.

The State Bank of India says an enquiry into the latest incident has been held.

Replaced

"The branch management has been found guilty of laxity due to which the notes were damaged by termites in the Fatehpur branch of Barabanki district," State Bank of India Chief General Manager Abhay Singh told the Press Trust of India.

Termites The State Bank of India has warned staff to be alert for money-grubbers

"Action will be taken against those responsible in the matter.

"As it was the bank's fault, it will bear the loss caused due to termites... there will be no loss to the public."

Ms Singh said that identity numbers on the majority of the notes were still intact, which meant that they could be replaced.

Bank officials discovered that the notes - which were kept in a strongroom - had been damaged by termites earlier this month.

Ms Singh said that directives had now been issued to all branches that stored currency in strongrooms to ensure that the condition of the cash is checked every two months.

Reports say that the branch where the money was stored was old, seldom properly cleaned and known to be a haven for termites.

"It was earlier brought to the notice of the management that termites were damaging files and furniture. Efforts are on to relocate the bank at some other place," Ms Singh said.

In the incident in Bihar in 2008, trader Dwarika Prasad lost his life savings after termites infested his bank's safe deposit boxes and ate them up.

Mr Prasad deposited currency notes and investment papers worth hundreds of thousands of rupees in a bank safe in the state capital Patna.

The bank said at the time that it had put up a notice warning customers of the termites.

 

A trader in the Indian state of Bihar has lost his life savings after termites infesting his bank's safe deposit boxes ate them up.

Dwarika Prasad had deposited currency notes and investment papers worth hundreds of thousands of rupees in a bank safe in the state capital Patna.

The bank says it put up a notice warning customers of the termites.

Mr Prasad says he did not see it in time as he did not go to the bank for months after the notice went up.

Bank officials admit they did not inform the customers individually about the termite problem.

'Shattered'

"I'm shattered. I do not know what to do as I had kept the money for my old age," Mr Prasad said.

The trader says he had deposited 450,000 rupees ($11,000) in currency notes, investment papers worth 232,000 rupees ($5,660) and some gold and silver jewellery in a safe deposit box of the government-owned Central Bank of India.

Mr Prasad says that relations with his wife and children were strained and he wanted to put the money in the safe box to keep it safe from them.

Dwarika Prasad's documents destroyed by termites (Pic: Prashant Ravi)
The locker had currency notes and documents worth thousands of dollars

He started using the safe box in September 2005.

He says when he opened it on 29 January, there was nothing in the safe except termite dust and remains of currency notes and that his investment papers were "badly perforated".

The white ants did not even spare the ornaments and their sheen has vanished, he says.

"I wrote to the head office of the Central Bank of India and the regional offices of the Reserve Bank of India," Mr Prasad says. "Even after two months, I'm waiting for a response from them."

'Not liable'

Bank authorities say they put up a notice, dated 8 May 2007, outside the locker room warning customers about the termite infestation.

They advised customers to remove their documents and papers from their safe.

"We received a few complaints of termites in safe deposit boxes so after putting on the notice, we got pesticides sprayed in the bank," said bank manager YP Saha.

Mr Saha says the customer cannot blame the bank because he did not find his locker broken or damaged.

"The bank is not liable for the deposits kept inside the safe as it is only when a locker is found broken that the bank is answerable," he said.

Bank authorities say they have forwarded Mr Prasad's complaint to higher authorities but they say he is not entitled to any compensation for his loss.

Posted by: Gordon Mackie AT 04:04 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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