While some banks in Ludhiana are still managing to offer currency exchange service but majority of them continued to suspend the service due to shortage of cash.
Bank managers had recently met deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat to apprise him about the delay in receiving cash which is hampering the currency exchange facility but the meeting failed to yield any positive result till late Friday evening. However, now they have pinned all hopes on getting the cash by Saturday afternoon or by Monday.
This cash crunch aggravated the already tensed situation and heightened public agitation at banks and ATMs across the city and rural areas. Several banks have also put up notices right on their gates to guide visitors as to what all services are available and what not, but the residents blamed the banks and administration for their failure to address the situation. There are also notices that say that currency exchange service will be offered to only those customers who have accounts in the respective banks. Some even suggested that the date of currency exchange should be extended for another month ahead of December 30, in case the functioning of banks and its services remain the same.
“There is chaos in all the banks and no hope of it all ending soon. People visit banks from far off places only to
discover that there is no cash and one has to return empty-handed. There are still so many who could not get a chance to exchange their currency even once,”bewailed Gurdeep Singh, a customer outside UCO bank on Ferozepur Road.
Another customer Balbir Singh at Canara bank located at Bharat Nagar Chownk added, “Why customers are not
alerted through SMS or a phone call that cash will not be available the following day?
I personally enquired from the manager and other officials as to when the cash will arrive but none of them has any idea. This also underlines the element of inefficiency.”
Banks await supply of indelible ink
Some banks did receive the indelible ink on Wednesday but majority of the banks are still waiting for it. Girish Andharia, assistant general manager, Bank of India located at Mall Road, said, “We have been told that indelible ink is on the way along with cash but we are yet to get any confirmation regarding its exact arrival day. Same is the case with several other banks.”
NK Sharda, manager of Punjab National Bank located on Ferozepur Road, said, “We are getting many enquires about when the ink and currency exchange service will commence but we are helpless to reply to the public. As of now, we just need to be patient. It is not that we do not want to help the public, it is just that circumstances are not allowing us to entertain them.”
Scrutiny of ID proofs
To ensure that no one exchanges currency on someone else’s identification proofs, majority of the banks have also started demanding original IDs, instead of photocopies. Special staff has also been deputed to check ID of the person coming for an exchange. At post offices too, it is the same story. SC Pahwa, senior postmaster of head post office said.