Bank customers faced harassment and inconvenience at various places in Punjab, Chandigarh and also Haryana while withdrawing cash on payday even as banks claimed that they put adequate measures in place to deal with the heavy rush.
From youngsters to elders stood in serpentine queues outside bank branches and ATMs for hours in order to withdraw cash with banks facing tough time to deal with angry customers who were denied money.
Several bank branches saw “shortage” of cash at their disposal and some branches went dry within an hour or so of receiving fresh lot of money for disbursement from RBI, officials said. “Banks are facing massive shortage of cash and people are fighting with bank staff when they do not get money,” said an official of State Bank of Patiala.
“What could we do when we do not have sufficient cash?” asked the official.
Besides blaming insufficient cash, banks pointed out people are reluctant with parting with fresh cash which further complicated the matter. “People are hoarding cash and there is not enough circulation of money in the market which has made the matter worse,” bank official said adding that which is why banks had imposed limit on cash disbursements in order to accommodate maximum people.
Fed up with standing in queue for withdrawing their own money, bank customers put blame on the “ill-preparedness” of the government in dealing with problems arose after demonetisation of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. “It has become difficult to get even our own cash,” fumed bank customer Sukhdarshan Singh.
Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation secretary Naresh Gaur said, “We appeal to RBI to make available sufficient cash as soon as possible to banks otherwise the situation will turn worse.”
He said that a security guard of State Bank of Patiala in Bathinda was allegedly beaten up by few angry men on Wednesday after the guard asked them to stand in a queue. “We have also asked for police protection in order to prevent any untoward incident,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official of Central Bank of India in Chandigarh claimed that they had sufficient cash and they did not face any problem in disbursement.