Political motive behind SBT's merger move: Vijayan

10 Jan 2017

Upping the ante on opposition to the proposed merger of State Bank of Travancore with SBI, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan today alleged the initiative was an attack on regional institutions, smacking of a political motive to undermine federalism."This attack on our regional autonomous institution is part of a political motive, it is doing away with the federal spirit of the country and building up a monolithic nation by submerging all ethnic identities," he told the 28th national conference of All India Bank Employees Association. He said there was opposition to the move in Kerala from several quarters and referred to the matter going to court besides his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also recalled a resolution of the state Assembly against the proposal mooted last year. Stressing that the people of the state had an emotional bond with SBT and it played a "significant role" in shaping up modern Kerala, he said its "disappearance no doubt will adversely affect investment" in the state. Vijayan, heading the LDF government, said the merger would lead to closure of more than half of SBT branches and transfer of employees. "One cannot turn a blind eye to the potential loss of career opportunities," he said. Noting that the Kerala government conducted its major business through SBT, he said, "What is worrying is the possible disappearance of a banking dispensation which accorded priority for the causes of the state and its people."  He urged trade unions to continue to fight on the issue, "So that we can resist the attempt at homogenisation of our beautiful heterogeneous society and its institutions."  Vijayan said, "It is imperative that they (like SBT) remain regional and autonomous. The aspirations of all sections of our society will materialise only in such an atmosphere. It is marked by the spirit of justice and equality."  State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had recently indicated that the merger of its five associate banks, including SBT and Bharatiya Mahila Bank, is likely to happen in the next financial year (2017-18).(PTI)