Though automated teller machines (ATMs) in Indore started functioning in Indore from 4pm, a large number of people were disappointed and angry as they could not withdraw money for the second consecutive day on Friday.
The high-value notes were withdrawn from Wednesday in an effort to combat corruption, black-market trade and tax evasion. But as banks remained closed on Wednesday, and reopened on Thursday morning with a cap on cash withdrawals, many were left without cash for day-to-day expenses.
On Friday, ATMs opened to long queues, as people scrambled to withdraw money. However, barring a few ATMs that soon ran out of cash, most cash vending machines in the city were not open for public until 4pm.
At some places, people stood in queues for hours at a stretch as cash did not arrive on time.
Meanwhile, banks struggled to manage the surging crowds despite the presence of police personnel.
“I have been standing here for more than an hour, but there is no clarity on when the ATMs will reopen,” said Rupesh Mishra, an insurance agent who had been hoping that ATMs will be functional as he had been unable to withdraw cash on Thursday.
“One needs cash to buy medicines and other essential items that are not available in retail outlets accepting cards,” he said.
People can withdraw up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 per day from ATMs up to November 18. The limit will be raised to Rs 4,000 per day per card from November 19 onwards.
At present, however, ATMs that are functional are dispensing only `100 notes while the banks are trying to recalibrate their machine for higher denomination notes but it will take some days before they start tendering the new high-security Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes.
The district administration is spending lot of time and energy to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in the banks.
With Indore having more than 400 bank branches, the police department has assigned one constable each at major branches besides keeping a tight vigil.
Lack of staff and vans for re-stocking ATMs that are witnessing high demand is also being cited as a reason for many ATMs remaining closed.
Another cause of concern was that petrol pumps and government hospitals will stop accepting old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes from Saturday.
Thin crowd at city’s famous hangouts
Famous food hangouts in Indore, including Chhapan Dukan and Sarafa, are witnessing thin crowd since Wednesday evening. Vendors at Chhapan Dukun, which has number famous eating joints, say that sales have plunged as people are facing shortage of money after sudden withdrawal of high-denomination notes from circulation.
Sarafa, which remains open until early in the morning and is known for its range of desserts, also had a thin crowd on Thursday and Friday. Sales at street-side paan shops also have plunged over the last two days as people are looking to hold on to smaller denomination notes.
Liquor sales plunge
Sale of liquor in the city has nose dived since Wednesday, a day after the Centre announced demonitisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, as people have cut down on purchase of non-essential items.“Sales are down to 20% of average sales for the past two days as there is liquidity crunch in the market. Things are expected to normalise only from Monday,” city-based liquor distributor Jagjit Singh Chhabra told HT. In Jhabua, about 250 km from Indore, a truck laden with crates of beer was abandoned on the highway on Thursday. Police suspect that beer worth Rs 17 lakh was being smuggled to neighbouring Gujarat, but the truck was abandoned as the smugglers anticipated problems in cash transaction following the scrapping of notes.