This SBI Branch in Gunji remains open for only 4-5 Months

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Gunji, a small village in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, is a unique branch. The village is adjacent to the Nepal and Indo-China border and has the last State Bank of India branch in the country.

The bank is only open for four to five months during the summer season. Due to the proximity of an army base and the development of the region, the demand for a permanently operating branch of the bank has been gaining momentum.

A permanent operating bank branch will not only give relief to the residents of Gunji, but to the people travelling to Mansarovar, and traders involved in the Indo-China trade as well.

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Both the travellers and those involved in the Indo-China trade get money from the SBI’s Gunji branch. Notably, this is the only bank on the Lipulekh Pass after Dharchula. Due to no internet connectivity, the Gunji branch also fails to provide services like internet banking to the people of the village.

SBI has employed three personnel for the Gunji branch, who come during the month of June and return back to Dharchula after October. The employees rent accommodation in Gunji and return to Dharchula when the snowfall happens.

A local resident said that all facilities are not available in the SBI’s branch. “The bank opens in the first week of June and closes by the end of September. We want some relief for traders, army and other government employees who are based here. We trade goods with people in the Indo-China trade and they charge us in US dollars. If the bank is closed, we cannot exchange the money accordingly,” he added.

He also shared that when the bank is closed in Gunji, people have to travel to Dharchula. Garbyal demanded that the bank be open for the entire year.

Apart from Gunji, residents of Napalchu, Nabhi, Kuti, Ronkang and Garbyang villages are also connected with the SBI’s branch. Army personnel of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are also dependent on this bank.

The villagers are hoping that their demand will be fulfilled by the bank and the government.

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The number of customers in SBI is more than the population of 99% countries

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