Friday, December 30, 2016

Outside banks in winter nights, Villagers near Gir forest fight leopards fear

Highlight Story

The SBI branch at Sankhda caters to about 20 villages close to the Gir Lions Sanctuary. Apart from anxiety over getting cash, people wairing outside banks are battling fear of leopard. (HT file photo)Updated: Dec 10, 2016 22:58 IST

The people from nearby villages are spending the nights outside the SBI branch in Sankhda -- the lone bank branch in the area -- so that they get the cash before it runs out when the bank opens in the morning.
However, sometimes there are other nocturnal visitors.
“A leopard strayed into the village about one week ago. The people who had lined up outside the bank and villagers managed to run it off into forest, but before that it killed a calf,” said the village sarpanch Santubhai Gohil.
The area is close to the Gir Lions Sanctuary.
The SBI branch at Sankhda caters to about 20 villages.

The sarpanch claimed that though the RBI has allowed withdrawal of Rs 24,000 a week, only Rs 2,000 were being disbursed by the bank as supply of currency was not adequate.
“Shops are no longer willing to sell milk and groceries on credit,” Gohil said.
People, desperate to withdraw cash, camped outside the bank armed with blankets and woollens, he said.
“I have made arrangement to provide the people who camp outside the bank with biscuits and water,” he said.
Farukh Raja, a resident of nearby Una town, said another problem was the banks were dispensing Rs 2,000 notes, which shopkeepers do not accept easily.
Some people were charging a premium Rs 200 to accept the Rs 2,000 note, he claimed.

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