New Delhi: The crowds queuing up outside banks and at ATM kiosks showed no signs of easing even on Monday, as cash-crunch woes continued to haunt them even 27 days after the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes were demonetised in the country.
As the crowds returned on Monday after the banks’ weekly holiday on Sunday, they ran into queues wherever they hoped to get cash from. The Axis Bank at Noida Sector 16 saw at least 100-persons strong queue outside it, while the scene was no different at functioning ATM kiosks.
Mahendra Prakash, a resident of Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi, said he and his wife rushed to the neighbourhood Canara Bank ATM when they heard it had been loaded with cash in the morning.
Prakash told IANS that ATMs in his locality had been dry for the last one week.
He was one of the many who hit out at the way the demonetisation scheme has been implemented, triggering an unprecedented cash shortage all across the country.
“The government and the RBI were not prepared for this. They should have made proper arrangements to replace the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes.”
The government announced the scrapping of high-value currency notes on November 8 night to crack down on black money and corruption.
When IANS caught up with them, Prakash’s wife Rakhi had been in the ATM queue for over an hour.
The scene was similar at many ATM kiosks. Many people expressed disgust over the manner they were forced to queue up again and again for hours together, almost daily, to collect Rs 2,000-2,500 — the maximum a person can withdraw from an ATM daily.
Many ATM machines continued to be cash-less on Monday.
Desperate to go to work, people in the queues were requesting those ahead of them to withdraw cash using only one debit card.
“I have to pay rent. I have to pay my maid and for utility bills. I can’t make all payments through net banking,” complained Sahil Raj, an IT professional from Nirman Vihar in east Delhi, echoing a common grouse.
“I have been trying to get cash from ATM for the last three days. Just before my turn comes, the guard announces the ATM is out of cash,” Raj sighed. “It is really frustrating.”
Many bank customers say they are not allowed to take out Rs 24,000 a week — as authorised by the Reserve Bank of India — but given only Rs 4,000-6,000 by bank officials who cite cash crunch.
An HDFC bank manager requesting anonymity told IANS, “We are trying to give cash to as many customers. We are giving cash up to Rs 6,000 to normal customers while those who are having medical emergency or other emergencies we are giving them Rs 10,000.”
The scenario was no different at Noida Sector 62 petrol vend where scores of people lined up at two ATMs located in its premises.
“I have been waiting for half an hour. This is the first time I am standing in the queue after November 8,” Pankaj Yadav, an export company worker, told IANS.
Another person, Amir, who worked in the maintenance department of a housing society, said: “I have been waiting here for half an hour. I have come to withdraw money after 15 days.”