People across Delhi-NCR queued up outside banks and ATMs from early on Tuesday morning to get their hands on some cash a day after a public holiday.
But, in spite of using social media platforms -- such as WhatsApp and Facebook -- to find out which ATMs had been refilled, many had to return empty handed.
The shutters of most ATMs were half-down till well past 8am on Tuesday, with security guards telling waiting crowds outside that cash would be available only at 11am. Since ATM withdrawal charges have been waived, people were seen rushing from one kiosk to other.
“I’ve trying to withdraw cash from ATMs for the last three days, but there is always some problem. Since morning today, we’re being told that the server is down. Banks are not prepared to address the problems being faced by people,” said Tarun Sharma, standing outside an ATM in South Extension-I.
A woman in south Delhi’s Defence Colony said he went to the ATM after midnight, thinking there might be some cash because banks often restock their machines late at night.
In Vaishali and Vasundhara in east Delhi, people of all age groups started lining up outside ATMs by 4am. Braving the chill, the people were seen in woollens to withdraw some cash.
In view of the rush, volunteers from several NGOs have also come forward to help people in areas like Rohini, Shalimar Bagh and Rani Bagh. These volunteers were distributing forms to people that is required for exchanging money from the banks.
“I have been standing here since 6:30am. I came to know through a Facebook group that cash is loaded in ATMs during the night. It is 8:30 now, but I have not been able to get anywhere near the machine due to the long queue” said Mohit Sah, an MNC employee who was standing outside an ATM booth in Gurgaon’s Sector 9.
Others, like Rama Sonkar of Noida, whose daughter is getting married on November 17, came with five other family members at around 4am and stood in the queue.
“We stay close to a bank. So, we arrived early,” she said.
“The lines are twice as long today after Monday’s bank holiday,” said Dhanesh Chand, a Pratap Vihar resident who works in sector-63, Noida.
Those who did manage to withdraw money said the new Rs 2,000 notes was hard to spend because hardly anyone had enough change in smaller currency in the absence of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.
The rush outside the ATMs continued at places like Nehru Place, Connaught Place, and Central Delhi continued till the closing of banks.