A mere four days before the demonetisation deadline of December 30, by when the pains of customers are supposed to allay -- as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said -- bankers seemed to nurse no hopes of any comfort and expected long queues to slither into the new year and into the months that follow.
“The rush is still there and there’s no hope of any respite. How can there be any when the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) is providing only 20-30 per cent of total cash required at the banks?” All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.
“The situation has not improved much. We had written to even RBI Governor Urjit Patel, apprising him of the situation. But then this is India, you cannot expect a swift reply from anyone. There’s no transperancy,” he said.
Venkatachalam expressed his anger also at the sorry state of bank employees who are being targets of disillusioned customers’ wrath for no fault of theirs.
He blamed RBI for eroding customers’ confidence in the institution of banks by not coming up with any satisfactory answers for the instances of new currency being seized all over the country, while none of this is reaching the legitimate candidates.
“Why doesn’t RBI give an answer for the currency leakage? The customer is naive; he sees the news in the paper or TV and thinks it’s the doing of the bank officials, that the money is being siphoned off by them. It disillusions him further,” Venkatachalam said writing-off the motive of eradicating black money too as a red herring.
He was seconded, in part, by a bank official from a HDFC branch in Noida, who said that money accorded to banks is just as little as before, however, the rush has attenuated.
“The crowd of customers is not as massive as before; partly because of the ATMs, some of which have finally found some cash,” Samiksha Sandle, Manager, HDFC branch Noida Sector-16 told IANS.
Despite this time being the holiday season, the bank officials have been persuaded to not go on leave, she said.
“As an emergency measure, we have not approved any long leave for our employees,” Sandle added.