Chaotic scenes were seen at banks and post offices in Gurgaon for the second day on Friday as a number of ATMs failed to dispense cash to customers who were expecting the machines to deliver as promised by the government and financial institutions. On Day 3 of the recent demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, and the second day of opening of banks after the announcement, the queues of the people waiting to get their old notes exchanged only got longer and continued to remain so till the evening.
There were heated arguments as people were forced to stand in lines for almost three to four hours without any result. There were long queues at bank branches in Nathupur, Sikanderpur, DLF City, MG Road, Sohna Road, sectors 31, 14, 22, 23, Palam Vihar, and most of Old Gurgaon.
One customer had even brought his daughter’s wedding cards to show his urgency and get some relief from bank officials. Others complained of mismanagement and lack of preparation by bank authorities. Bank servers at several branches also crashed, leading to delay in transactions.
Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, of Sector 23A, complained about the lack of arrangement and preparation at banks across the city. “SBI Palam Vihar has both deposit and dispensing facility at the ATM counter, but they are not operational,” he said.
The SBI ATM in Palam Vihar, Corporation Bank ATM at Ansal Triangle and ATMs of several other banks in sectors 14, 4 and 5, Old Gurgaon, MG Road and Sohna Road failed to deliver cash. Some ATMs located on side streets did have cash, but they were emptied by 10am. In Sector 22 market too, where a number of ATMs are installed, the machines failed to dispense cash. However, two ATMs in Sector 23 market issued Rs 100 notes, much to delight of people.
Neeraj Thakur, of Palam Vihar, complained that Axis Bank’s server was not working and so no transaction could be completed. The Axis Bank ATM in Palam Vihar also remained shut.
The worst-affected by the lack of cash were those who have weddings coming up in their families. Narender Kumar, of New Palam Vihar, said his daughter is supposed to get married two weeks later, but all arrangements have come to a halt.
Kumar, who had come to the bank with his daughter’s wedding card, hoped that bank officials would listen to his pleas for more cash. “I don’t know how all the arrangements will be made now,” said Nirmala, his wife.
The Dhingra family, which has a wedding in the family just two days later, was more than worried as most transactions for wedding arrangements are carried out in cash. “Everything is stuck now and I am hoping things will work out on credit,” said Mrs Dhingra, who did not share her full name.
Bank officials insisted they had made adequate arrangements, but the rush was too much to handle. Officials of Sarv Haryana Gramin Bank said they have increased the number of counters to exchange notes, deposit money and withdraw cash. “We are spending around three to four minutes per customer to exchange notes, which is pretty fast,” said an official of the bank.
The situation was similar at the 42 post offices in Gurgaon district. No money could be exchanged as they did not receive the supply of new currency notes. CJ Arora, the post master of Sadar Bazaar post office, which is Gurgaon’s main post office, said they would get fresh notes on Saturday, after which they can be distributed to customers.