In the time of demonetisation, chaos and queues rule the city. Four days after the Prime Minister declared the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes defunct, people are facing harrowing times to exchange old currency with the new one or withdraw money from ATMs.
Young, elderly, working class and others, all could be seen standing outside banks for hours in queues, some of them stretching up to 20 metres. At places, people after waiting for hours get to know that the bank has run out of cash, leading to commotion, arguments and even scuffles. At a few places, police had to intervene to ensure law and order. “I got a call from Industrial Area, Phase 2, and the caller complained that people were creating ruckus outside a bank. We went to spot and brought the situation under control,” said a police official from Sector 31 police station.
Due to flow of cash less than the demand, ATMs run out of cash within hours daily. Also, only 40-50% of ATMs are functioning in the city, leaving people a harassed lot. Since ATMs are being stacked with Rs 100 notes only and the space is limited, they run dry within no time.
“We did normal banking on Saturday. We have received money from the RBI and all ATMs will be filled by tonight,” said a senior officer from Bank of India.
“We were able to fill half of the ATMs located in the city as we have limited cash,” said an officer from the State Bank of India.
“Each ATM machine has 3-4 bins, which hold cash and each is configured to hold Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency. As there are no Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, only Rs100 notes are being stacked in the machines, they run dry quickly,” said an officer from the SBI.
“I was standing in the queue for the past half an hour and when my turn came, the bank ran out of cash. This is very irritating. Moreover, people are jumping the queues and there is no one to monitor them,” said Sunita Gupta, who was standing in a queue outside the SBI branch in Sector 17.
Meanwhile, banks found it difficult to meet the rush of people looking to exchange or withdraw money. The rush is increasing every passing day as people have exhausted whatever money they had in smaller denomination
NO CASH IN ATMs THROUGH THE DAY
SAS Nagar: There was no end to the sufferings of residents here as ATMs of most banks didn’t have cash during the day on Saturday. The cash in most of the ATMs was loaded in the evening. Residents kept hopping from one ATM to the other since morning but had to return disappointed. The bank officials said there was some technical snag due to which ATMs couldn’t function.The private sector banks have updated their software for the new currency, but the public sector banks are yet to rise to the occasion, making it difficult for the customers. “I had to stand in the queue for about two hours to get the old currency exchanged. Had ATMs been working, I could have at least withdrawn some Rs 100 notes,” said Harmandeep Singh of Phase 7, SAS Nagar. “I had to borrow money from my friend as the ATM I visited had no cash,” said Hargunjit Kaur, a software professional.Sources said most banks were yet to update the software. Bank officials on condition of anonymity said they were not receiving currency as per the demand, leading to chaos.
NO END YET TO PEOPLE’S WOE
Panchkula: Even the weekend could not come to the rescue of residents as they found themselves standing in queues outside banks for second consecutive days. As almost all the ATMs in Panchkula remained closed on Saturday, people had a tough time waiting for their turn to exchange currency in banks.
Some residents said they had to go to Chandigarh to withdraw some money from the ATMs there, but even that too was not easy. Even branches of smaller banks such as Allahabad Bank in Sector 11 were crowded. All the 15 branches of different banks in the sector were flooded with people.