ATMs in Ghaziabad witnessed long queues till late in the evening, after they opened for the first time since the demonetisation.
Customers said that a majority of the ATMs were either not dispensing cash, or stayed non-operational since morning. Ghaziabad has around 500 ATMs, according to official estimates.
“I went to ATMs in Gandhi Nagar, Nehru Nagar, head post office, Patel Nagar... I checked nearly 8-10 ATMs to withdraw money for daily use. But all of them were out of cash,” said Seema Sharma, a Patel Nagar II resident.
“The ATM at Navyug Market was not working so I took a token and stood in the queue to exchange money. I only have ₹ 500 and ₹1,000 notes with me. I used to rely on ATM withdrawal but this seems to be an uphill task at the moment,” said Wasim Malik, a scrap dealer from Islamnagar.
ATMs at the State Bank of India’s district collectorate also failed to dispense cash.
“I tried all ATMs in Vijay Nagar but some had long queues while others had no cash. So I came to the collectorate, but the ATM shutters were down. Then I stood in the queue to exchange old notes,” said Mohammed Raza, a Pratap Vihar resident.
The shutters of the ATM counter at Bank of Baroda Gandhi Nagar were also down as officials said the cash was exhausted. Even ATMs at Raj Nagar district centre went dry as cutomers withdrew most of the cash by afternoon.
“Our ATMs are being filled up with cash regularly and may have got exhausted. There was heavy rush on Friday, as compared to Thursday. We are still disbursing denominations of ₹100 and lower. For new currency, the ATMs will have to be configured as per the size of the new ₹2,000 notes. This will be done soon as the new notes arrive,” said PK Jha, chief manager with SBI’s Navyug market main branch.
However, the lead bank manager of the bank refused to admit that several of the ATMs were not operational since Friday morning.
“All the ATMs were filled and no ATM was left without cash. It could be that the cash got exhausted as everyone came in to get money. There were long queues till late evening outside the banks. Things will be back to normal in a couple of days,” said RS Meena, lead bank manager.
On Saturday, banks are likely to face a major staff crunch, due to the national lok adalat.
“We are trying to figure out ways to deploy staff, as there is a huge rush in the banks for exchange and deposit these days,” he added.
On Friday, the office of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted about a request made to PM Modi to extend the date for accepting old ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes to November 30 in private hospitals, nursing homes and medical shops.