Residents queued up outside solitary ATM kiosks that had cash availability in their area on Saturday. The pressure on ATMs is high this weekend as Saturday, Sunday and Monday are bank holidays. Monday is a holiday on the account of Id Milad ul Nabi festival.
Since the demonetisation was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, residents are facing an acute cash crunch as many ATMs have stopped functioning due to lack of sufficient cash supply to banks.
For the last 30 days, long queues have been noticed outside banks and ATMs in Noida as residents are struggling to get hold of the new currency notes. Despite the advent of winter in National Capital Region (NCR), residents are braving the chilly weather and dense fog to stand in queues, even during the wee hours, to get cash.
In Noida’s Sector 18 shopping complex, more than 400 people were queuing up for cash outside the State Bank of India ATM since morning.
“I came here at 8am and I have been waiting for three hours, but I have still not managed to withdraw cash. I am a contractor and I need to pay daily wage workers,” Avdhesh Singh of Mamura said.
A majority of the ATMs across Noida stopped functioning due to the lack of cash supply. At Jaipuria market in Sector 27, a long queue was noticed till late Friday night outside the Oriental Bank of Commerce ATM as cash was not available elsewhere.
“The banks are closed for the next three days. It is better that I get at least ₹2,500 to meet my family’s needs over the weekend. I live in Khoda and most grocery shops do not accept plastic money,” Kamal Sahoo of Khoda said.
Bankers said that uneven supply of cash by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to nationalised and private banks in Gautam Budh Nagar has resulted in the cash crunch.
“Demonetisation might be a bold step, but its implementation went horribly wrong due to a lack of coordination among the government, RBI and other banks. In Noida, branches and ATMs of SBI always have cash whereas other bank ATMs have not functioned since Day 1. The cash supply is heavily biased,” a senior employee of a public sector bank in Noida said.
However, experts said that the cash crunch is temporary and it is expected to improve after the holidays.
“Banks in Noida are running out of cash fast and better preparation is required. However, I am hopeful that the situation will gradually improve in a few days,” AK Singh, lead bank manager, Gautam Budh Nagar, said.