Long queues of people who wanted to exchange and deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes, which have been pulled out of circulation, and withdraw currency of other denomination were seen outside banks and automated teller machines (ATMs) across the tricity on Sunday.
Several ATMs were refilled time and again to cater to the increasing rush. At some places, people had to rush to other places after ATMs went out of cash. In Sector 9, Chandigarh, two ATMs went out of cash and they were refilled by the evening only.
Most of the banks in Chandigarh were open till 4pm.
In SAS Nagar, long queues were witnessed outside ATMs since 8am. As banks were open till 4pm, more people lined up in queues outside ATMs to withdraw money. In Phases 9, 10 and 11, some ATMs were closed or not functioning, while in Phase-5 and 3 B2, several ATMs were closed.
“There was no increase in the number of people visiting the State Bank of India as the rush was almost the same of yesterday’s. We are expecting it to decline in the coming days,” said an officer of a State Bank of India (SBI) branch in Chandigarh.
Some bank officials, however, claimed that the footfall in Chandigarh banks on Sunday was less than what it was a day before as queues got shorter by the afternoon.
“Being Sunday, we were expecting a huge rush of customers in the bank. But the rush was less than that on previous days. We witnessed 20% less customers today,” said a senior official of the Central Bank of India.
Banks in the city will remain closed on Monday, but ATMs will function. At Bank Square in Sector 17, there was less chaos as compared to previous days.
People line up outside ATMs
“Earlier, we used to refill ATMs four times a day, but today we filed these only twice,” a guard at the Central Bank of India branch in Chandigarh said.
Suresh Kumar, resident of Sector 66, SAS Nagar, said, “I was busy throughout the week and Sunday being my day off, I rushed to the bank only to find a huge crowd waiting for their turn to come. I had to wait for four hours to change notes.”
Residents lined up outside ATMs and banks in Panchkula on Sunday, with most of the ATMs remaining out of cash for most part of the day. More people turned up for currency exchange for which limit has been capped at `4,000 a day.
Only the HDFC bank branch ATMs in Sector 8 worked throughout the day, barring for an hour in the afternoon when cash had to be refilled. There were long queues outside the bank. Yes Bank and ICICI Bank ATMs in the same sector went out of cash around 3:30pm. In Sector 11, the ICICI Bank closed its branch at 3:30pm while one of its two ATMs was functional. The Allahabad Bank reported to have exhausted cash.
Jatinder Kumar, a resident of Mauli Jagran, said, “The ICICI Bank staff refused to entertain me as I do not have an account with them. When I went to Allahabad Bank they also claimed to have run out of cash. Where should I go?”
No separate queue of senior citizens and women were seen despite the deputy commissioner’s directions. A Bank of Baroda ATM in Sector 11 remained out of order throughout the day. ATMs of Corporation Bank, Yes Bank and Syndicate Bank were out of cash when checked at 4pm.
The Sector-11 branch of Vijaya Bank allowed exchange of currency in the morning but it also reported to have run out of cash by the afternoon.
Banks in Panchkula will remain closed on Monday as it is a gazetted holiday.
Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi has passed instructions to the Panchkula district administration that it must ensure that tokens are issued to people standing in queues outside banks and volunteers should provide water or tea to them.