Chaos prevailed for the second day on Friday as a large number of people lined up in front of various banks to exchange and deposit scrapped currency.
Automated teller machines (ATMs) came into operation early Friday morning but ran out of cash several times during the day, resulting in utter chaos both for bankers and ordinary residents, who had also lined up to withdraw cash. “The paucity of new currency is a major problem,” said bankers.
A branch head of HDFC Bank said that ATMs were running dry as they were being stocked with Rs100 banknotes since there is a shortage of new Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. Besides the capacity of the ATMs is also limited. “If ATMs are stocked with high denomination currency, things may improve,” he said.
People were seen in queues even before the banks opened in the morning. Minor arguments too were witnessed after impatient people were sent home from many branches after they ran out of cash.
Against the normal footfall of 500 people, the main branch of the ICICI Bank on the Mall road was visited by over 5,000 customers for exchanging and depositing .
The shortage of employees was also a major issue. For instance, the branch of State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) at the local mini-secretariat failed to handle the rush due shortage of employees.
The branch caters to hundreds of employees in the complex, but only two officials, a cashier and a branch manager, were there to operate the branch.
Rakesh Kumar, branch manager, said, “We have informed about the shortage of staff to the higher authorities, but nothing has been done so far. The cash also ran out within hours due to the heavy rush,” he added
Relief by next week likely
Senior branch head of State bank of Patiala Varinder Karwal said that the situation was likely to improve by the next week. “Hopefully we will be in a better position from Tuesday,” he said. The banks are open on Saturday and Sunday, but will remain closed on Monday due to national holiday.