A woman standing in a long queue outside an Axis Bank branch near Sector 16 Metro station fainted after suffering an epileptic seizure on Thursday morning. Millions of people across the country continue to experience hardships due to the cash crunch, a month after PM Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
The woman, who appeared to be in her late 20s, with an Aadhaar card in hand, started feeling dizzy, convulsed and collapsed on the road. A group of Good Samaritans stepped out of the queue and helped her. Some of them began rubbing her hands and feet till she was revived about 10 minutes later. She then walked away and didn’t resume her place in the queue.
Long queues of cash-starved men and women outside banks and ATMs kiosks have become ubiquitous across the country since the government, on November 8, decided to scrap Rs500 and Rs1000 notes to fight black money, corruption and terror financing. A month on, people continue to struggle from cashlessness as mints have not been able to print enough bank notes and meet the demand.
On Thursday, many ATMs in Noida ran dry and banks continued to refuse withdrawals of Rs24,000 — the maximum allowed by the government — as even they don’t have enough money for distribution.
There were around 100 customers waiting outside the bank around 11am, with a separate queue for women, which was equally long.
“I have been standing here since 6.30 am. Forty-eight people were already here when I reached,” said Amit Kumar.
Kumar, who works for an electronic wares distributor, said that a man who was ahead of him left with some cash after “waiting here since 4 am.”
“He was the third one to arrive. His turn came just now.”
The three ATMs inside the Axis Bank were not working. Officials and people who have been regularly visiting the bank said the cash dispensers have been defunct for at least last 10 days.
A nearby Kotak Mahindra ATM has never been refilled with cash since the demonetisation was announced, bank officials said.
Most customers were furious with banks setting their own limits for withdrawal and rationing cash to cater to more customers.
“They are giving only Rs5,000. Initially, they had given Rs10,000 to a few people,” said another man in the queue.