Hyderabad: Poor forced to pay dearly for accessing zero accounts

Hyderabad: Poor forced to pay dearly for accessing zero accounts
Women holding white ration cards standing in a queue at a cyber cafe on Wednesday in Shalibanda Photo:-Adula Krishnas

  • Online services cash in on innocence of poor people desperate for govt aid Govt crediting monetary aid directly into accounts of ration card holders
  • Those having ration cards but not bank accounts rushing to online centres Bank officials say not opening any accounts in lockdown, to avoid crowding

Hyderabad: Even as the State government started providing financial assistance to marginalised sections, some online service centres under the garb of Meeseva are fleecing the poor n in the city. These centres are charging Rs 300 to Rs 500 from poor customers for opening 'zero accounts' in their names or for helping them draw financial aid from the government.

As money was credited into the accounts of those who have ration cards in their names on Tuesday, scores of poor people rushed to local online centres at various places in the city and on the outskirts, braving restrictions, to open accounts. However, they were charged Rs 200 to Rs 500 fee by the centres, cashing in on their desperate situation.

"I was charged Rs 500, when I approached the local Meeseva centre to open a zero balance account in order to get the financial aid announced by the state government," rued Fareeda Begum, a resident of Sulaiman Nagar. Denying that zero balance account attract any charges, a bank official said: "Generally, to open a zero balance account, people need not remit amount except furnishing necessary documents at banks.

Moreover, at present we are not authorised to open such accounts, except in a few emergency cases, for fear that overcrowding will result in further spread of the virus." Recently, the officials from civil supplies department raided online centres at Hassannagar, Mahmoodnagar under Rajendranagar limits, shut down four centres and even handed over a few persons to cops, hoping the action will deter others.

When contacted Commissioner (Mee Seva) G T Venkateshwar Rao said, "Mee Seva centers are not at all operating under lockdown. Besides, they are not permitted to involve in any cash-related transactions. If any such instances are brought to our notice, then we will take action."

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