A Chronicle of Enlightened Citizenship Movement in the State Bank of India

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mangalore Air Tragedy and SBI's healing touch

A few days back there was an interesting forward of the activities of our SBI Mangalore Branch head C.M.Tallur. Please read the heart-touching and moving story of how SBI responded to the unfolding events after the Air India Air Crash tragedy at Mangalore. An apt lesson of Banking with senstivity and responsivess. It is likely that this story will be picked up by the SBI Citizen intervention programme.  Let us salute and try to emulate the likes of Tallur in the Bank. Incidentally, he has also been promoted as AGM and will also be deputed to America for 3 days to participate in the American Kannadigas Conference.  Who says good times have ceased for good and hardworking colleagues in our Bank? - Madhu Bhat

(An initiative resulting in Collective Fulfillment)
22 May 2010 is a Black Saturday in Indian Aviation history. “A plane has crashed in Bajpe! And it is an Air India plane from Gulf”. We received   shocking waves of News, which went screamingly into our ears. We as a TEAM at our Branch pooled ourselves together through an internal communication network and started dwelling on as to what could be of its impact and what we can do in this agony stricken situation. We knew that most of the passengers could be our customers, friends, or other acquaintances especially when our branch has 7000 NRIs with nearly 400 crores business held with us. Most of us in Mangalore branch have a habit of rushing to the branch and form a Think-Tank group to dwell on the subject matter and chalk out a possible road map whenever any such calamity or disaster emerges.
2. We started getting calls and were slowly getting into the grave situation of no come back. The members started collecting the names and addresses of customers and family members who were said to be affected. Even after waiting up to late noon, nothing more could be worked out, as all routes to Airport were closed. AGM who had excellent liaison with District Administration and Public Health could secure a list of ill fated passengers with their details of name,   Phone-numbers,   passport number and local residential address. As all the staff members of Mangalore branch had left by that time, the action was shifted to AGMs residence where his college going daughters took the responsibility of making a soft copy of the information received in a hard copy, which was segregated into specific areas and other logistics. The names of the bereaved family was re-arranged, area wise and attached to our branches located in these areas. While AGM and Manager(RM-NRI) went around places including Morgue, to enable the onlookers and general public to have a fair chance of identifying SBI in the crowd so that we could also reach to the needy.
3. The following day (Sunday) was reserved for drawing up a Holistic Plan to smoothen the after effects of the perils and sufferings of this national disaster. The Controller and GM (NW-1) were contacted seeking their guidance. The top leaders in Officer’s Association and Staff Union were contacted who pledged full support of their members. GM directed us that every help should be extended 24*7 to reach   to the bereaved families. While it was gathered that most of the bereaved families belong to Blue Collared Segment and in most of the cases, the bread winner had lost life; sanctioning of a temporary overdraft for sustenance covering the interim period was permitted as special case. The services of CM(NRI-Banking) at LHO were also romped in who took special interest in drawing up of the blue print of the total plan and securing necessary approvals. The Help Lines at Mangalore and Udupi branches were opened and suitable Press Releases were made to leading national and local dailies. Our aim was to reach out to every family and their kith and kin of those who are affected, irrespective of the fact that they were our existing customers or not.  VASUDHAIVA    KUTUMBAKAM was the mantra for us.
4.”Whom and How we will meet them?”, “How they would react?” , “What should I speak and with what information I should come back with?”- were some of the apprehensions of the staff    members at the identified branches. Most of us had never seen any of such disasters nor we had had done any such counseling to anyone in our career earlier. AGM took on himself to conduct “TEST VISITS” for two or three such families on Sunday. He came back with an idea of The Feed Back Form which    could be filled in by the visiting staff members which could be maintained as a master document here after. The next working day(Monday) saw RM to direct the branches under his control to reach out to the affected families along with feedback form. Grahaka Mitras were to invariably accompany the team leader. Within a couple of days most of the visits were over and the feedback forms/information started pouring in. The managers attached to Help Line started collecting the data and revisited some of the families. The SOS calls started coming from nooks and corners of Kerala state to Karwar in Karnataka. A constant touch was also maintained with the authorities at Air India who started directing us the people seeking help for their needs in Banking area. A firm of our empanelled Advocates volunteered to extend their professional service to the claimants for drafting Affidavits and Power of Attorneys to be executed for free of cost. Local TV channels commenced telecasting the information about our Help Line with telephone numbers at free of cost. AGM visited most of the Condolences Meeting of Air-crash victims not only to pay our respects but to reiterate our firm commitment of continuing the help-line, till all the problems of victims are averted. Needless to add that when the compensation amount was given nearly 90% of the families wanted to open accounts with only SBI.
4.1 We still remember that day, an elderly man poured six cheques of Rs.20Lakhs each on the table of the AGM, which he received as a compensation for 6 of his family members who had lost their life in the Air-crash. “Keep the money the way you want, as I have nothing to gain when 6 of my family members are no more. I still remember, vividly when one of you were in my house during dark and difficult times when none of our relatives or friends could be with us”, he said, with his eyes sunk in despair. 
4.2 We had a welcome surprise too, when a short looking man dismounted from an Ambulance Van and started walking into our branch with a cheque and copies of photographs in his hand. “Now I believe only in SBI and I want to open an account here”, he said with brimming confidence. Each one of us was eager to touch him and shake hands with him when we learnt that he is one of the lucky survivors. He seems to be sanguine that he wanted to bank with only SBI and no other bank could instill confidence in him. One of our staff members who shook hands with him quipped “Please pass on some percentage of your luck to me!”. Smilingly he hugged a few of us with affection. He and his confidence in us, is the future for us.
5. Now it is a time for us to revisit all these homes again to smile and say and also ensure “AAAL IZZ WEL”.  
Asst. General Manager, 
email: tallur.cm@sbi.co.in    Cell: 91-9448993308
Courtesy: SBI POs' 1988 Google Group via Jayant Majumdar 


  1. simply extraordinary and coordinated team effort from Citizens SBI at Mangalore branch in crisis. I take this opportunity to individually salute each and every Citizen SBI there for this service rendered to the community in which we operate. I am sanguine that they have made history!

  2. It is also the true Collective Fulfilment moments of Team Mangalore!

  3. Oh really its very good example of collective fulfillment.

  4. namaskar sir
    tan q for inspirational story on mangalore story
    i read it in citizen blog thru jagat bisht link and become member of the blog thur gmail link.
    reading it i wept really, when the person tendered all two lakh cheques to us when he lost all his family members
    the timely teaming and human concern shown by Sri.Tallur and his team makes me to recall citizen moments that our teams (at different branches) underwent and also reinforced my personal human approach still deeper and no doubt, more valuable.

    tan q again and NAMASKAR to U DGM COUPLE

    srinivasan sharma k