Published: Mon, November 14, 2016
Finance | By Kristine Clayton

Chaos grows, queues get longer at banks, ATMs on weekend

Chaos grows, queues get longer at banks, ATMs on weekend

Banks across the country have reopened on Thursday (10 November) after they were shut for a day in order to prepare for the influx of customers following the government's pulling of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

People thronged post offices, banks in huge numbers and even lost their cool after banks, reportedly, complained of less cash.

Only a handful of India's 1.25 billion people - finance minister Arun Jaitley, Reserve Bank of India governor and a few close officials -- were in the loop until the very last minute, AFP quotes Indian media as saying.

The queues in banks have become larger than the free Jio Reliance card queues witnessed last month and some banks have refused to provide Rs.100 notes while majority announced that there are no forms available.

The RBI said it has made arrangements to distribute the notes in new Rs 2000 and other denominations across the country.

ATMs are not able to dispense Rs.2,000 notes, as banks, including the State Bank of India, sources say, haven't reconfigured them for dispensing the currency. Rituraj Sinha, President, Cash Logistics Association of India, said that shortage of cash with banks and technical glitches were the main reasons for ATMs not functioning optimally.

Pushpendra Pankaj, a worker at New Delhi's Municipal Council, said he had been waiting for one and a half hours at the Canara Bank branch near Parliament House to exchange his old 500-rupee notes.

With the banks and ATMs seeing an unprecedented rush, police personnel were also deployed at ATMs and banks in many places.

In his government's battle against black money and fake currency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will cease to be legal from midnight. "Today, we are living in a situation where we are finding to hard to avail our hard-earned money", said Pradeep Sharma, a resident of Rajender Nagar in Ghaziabad. By 10 a.m., serpentine queues were visible outside banks and ATMs.

Nearly 90 percent of transactions in India are done with cash while 500 and 1,000 notes now account for more than 85 per cent of the value of cash in circulation, according to research firm Capital Economics.

"People must have patience and support bank officials while depositing or exchanging cash", Tasleem Ahmed, who works in private company in Noida, said. "Yesterday I went to a bank to collect cash". We visited over a dozen ATM booths only to find that they were closed, out of service or out of cash.

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