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Shifting of zonal offices of bank from Silchar to elsewhere: The points of consideration

Lately, there is a growing issue in Silchar that has been recently addressed by our Honourable Member of Parliament, Dr. Rajdeep Roy whereby he has requested the Ministry of Finance, Assam to not shift the Zonal Office of State Bank of India from Silchar to elsewhere. This step taken by Dr Roy is highly appreciable and it necessitates the Zonal Offices of various banks in Silchar to remain in Barak Valley rather than being shifted outside. 

Another news is in the air that the Zonal Office of Canara Bank, Silchar is to be shifted from Silchar to a neighboring State. If this is the ongoing trend then I am afraid that with due course of time Silchar will be left with zero Zonal Offices of the reputed banks. SBI and Canara banks are one of the top working banks and shifting of zonal offices from Silchar to elsewhere needs to be stopped with immediate effect because it will hamper the development of Silchar in many ways, especially financially.

After a considerable study, I am willing to put forth certain aspects in this regard as to why the zonal offices of reputed banks should not be transferred outside Silchar.

Following are the points of consideration:-

  • Firstly, shifting of the Zonal Office of various banks from Silchar to elsewhere point out finger upon the potentiality and capability of Barak Valley of holding and maintaining a Zonal Office. Barak Valley has always been questioned on various grounds. This Valley has always been denied many opportunities merely on the basis of doubt. Barak Valley has lost Hindustan Paper Mill, a connecting highway for reduction of traffic issues and now the zonal offices of the reputed banks are also been taken away from this Valley. Barak Valley is being gifted with unnecessary projects like Zoo and Parks that are not required for the time being while other important things are being taken away from this Valley hampering the process of growth and development of Barak Valley.
  • As nicely pointed out by Dr. Rajdeep Roy, the connectivity of Barak Valley with the four adjoining states of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura shows the importance of having a Zonal Office in Barak Valley for outsourcing the banking services and easy availability of the same across North-east. The absence of Zonal Office will be non-beneficiary for the concerned banks as well as for the customers at large.
  • By rule, larger loan amounts can be passed mainly in the Zonal Offices of banks or with due permission of the heads of Zonal Offices. The customers of large amount of loans are mainly businessmen and industrialists. Taking huge loan amounts will not be handy for the businessmen of Silchar and shifting of Zonal Office outside Silchar will eventually slow down the process of all kinds of development.
  • Silchar is a developing city and has big upcoming projects to entertain in future. Absence of Zonal Offices will clearly be a hindrance in the process of development whether it be infrastructure or education or health care or other business projects for the matter because for any kind of project the most important thing is finance and the main source of finance comes from the Zonal Offices of banks.
  • For the above mentioned reasons, if Zonal Office is shifted outside Silchar then the concerned banks will lose some of its valuable customers specially businessmen and industrialists.
  • In the absence of a Zonal Office, the extension of bank services through various branches will come to a halt and accordingly the people of Silchar will not be able to avail the services of bank in greater number. Lesser the number of branches, more the amount of financial loss.
  • As the city of Silchar is extending, there should be more number of branches of a bank so that the bank services reaches out to more and more people but the absence of Zonal Office will lessen the speed and chances of the same.
  • It is pertinent to mention that Barak Valley is the second largest Urban Settlement in the entire Northeast India, after Guwahati.
  • Barak Valley being the financial hub of Assam after Guwahati has better potentiality of serving the banking customers and providing proper financial assistance and services.
  • In times where most of the banks are getting privatized and merged, our country will be left with very few Public Sector Banks. SBI and Canara Banks are among those few public sector banks, hence it is very crucial for Silchar to have Zonal Offices of these few public sector banks.
  • Having zonal offices of banks like SBI, Canara Bank etc. adds up to the value of Barak Valley and the absence of the same will be of no good.

Considering the above-mentioned facts and circumstances, it is my humble request to the Ministry of Finance, Assam, Honorable Member of Parliament Dr. Rajdeep Roy and the respective General Managers and Zonal Heads of the concerned bank to not shift the zonal offices of the banks from Silchar to elsewhere. Silchar has the potentiality of running Zonal Offices and will not disappoint in any manner.

The author of this article, Prothoma Dutta Roy is an Advocate at Cachar District Court, the opinion expressed are her personal.

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