Most of the automated teller machines (ATMs) in the tricity and its neighbourhood were running out of cash by noon on Monday, a bank holiday, forcing people to rush from one place to other to get banknotes of denomination other than Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
The Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre had pulled these banknotes out of circulation last Tuesday. People had to wait at least for half an hour to withdraw cash from a few ATMs that were still dispensing cash.
At Bank Square in Sector 17, Chandigarh, all ATMs expect one ran out of cash by noon. Long queues were seen outside the lone working ATM of State Bank of India (SBI) there.
Bank holiday: No cash filled in ATMs
“The machines were filled with cash yesterday so that they could cater to the rush of people on Monday. But people kept visiting the ATMs last night to withdraw cash, leaving these machines empty by morning,” said a security guard at the Bank of Baroda (BoB) ATM in Sector 17.
In Panchkula, all ATMs, barring a few, ran out of cash. The banks and post offices were closed due to Gurpurb, a gazetted holiday. Yes Bank, SBI and HDFC ATMs in Sector 6 were empty at 1pm. The situation was similar at the ATMs of these three banks in Sector 8. An HDFC ATM was made functional at around 3pm.
“The ATM is not functioning since morning as there is no cash. We are referring people to other branches,” said a guard at Bank of India in Sector 17, Chandigarh. “I cannot stand in the queue any longer and therefore I have asked my friend to pitch in for me,” said Sonal Dua, a student.
Patients at the receiving end
At the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), among those waiting in a queue was MD Salim, a kidney patient who was leaving for Bihar, his home state, without buying sufficient medicines.
“I had come to PGI for check-up on November 7. Doctors prescribed me some medicines, which cost around Rs 35,000 per month. The PGI chemists are not accepting debit cards and I cannot withdraw this much amount from ATMs,” said Salim.
ATMs of SBI and ICICI Bank in Sector 11 were also out of cash. Only one the HDFC Bank ATM was working and there were long queues outside it.
In Sector 11, Panchkula, a long queue spilling onto the road at the ICICI ATM. It was the only ATM working in the market at that time. ATMs of Yes Bank, Corporation Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Vijaya Bank, Bank of Baroda and Syndicate Bank in Sector 11 were not working.
Around 2pm, only the Axis Bank ATM was operational at the Sector 10 market while those of IndusInd Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), Canara Bank and Central Bank of India were out of cash.
The ATMs of Andhra Bank and ICICI Bank in the Sector 7 market were not working.