New Delhi: Members in Lok Sabha today expressed concern over "growing" robberies in ATMs, even as the government said such incidents were "expected" as only 297 incidents had occurred between April last year and this January whereas the cash-disturbing machines numbered nearly two lakh across the country.
Responding to a volley of supplementaries on the safety of ATMs during Question Hour, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said between April 1, 2014 and January 31 this year, Rs 23.59 crore was robbed from customers, cash vans, banks and ATMs.
A total of 297 incidents were reported during the period, he said.
When Sinha said there are 1.81 lakh ATMs and one lakh bank branches spread across the country and 250-300 incidents of violence were "expected" to take place, BJD member Mahtab objected to his remarks and said there should be "zero tolerance" towards such incidents.
Mahtab said people have even lost their lives and added that there has been a constant rise in such crimes and the amounts robbed.
To this, Sinha replied that with such a vast country, some incidents are expected but they are a reminder for the security agencies to be "eternally vigilant".
The Minister said steps are being taken to ensure that the customers and staff are protected from such attacks.
He said India records much lower incidents compared to those in Europe where the system of security was much better.
He also agreed to a suggestion that "burly and mustached" guards can be deployed to fend off the robbers.