Banks in Amritsar and across the region witnessed heavy rush of people coming to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, which were discontinued by Modi government to curb black money in the country.
Banks in the city opened to huge crowds, many even fighting to be the first in the queue, on Thursday morning.
People were overheard interacting with each other that it was the longest wait ever, as it was a wait for over 24 hours after which they will finally get exchanged currency for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
A woman standing at Rani Ka Bagh branch of a public sector bank said, “Yesterday I did not have even one low denomination note at home, and thus could not buy household items. My son was also upset as I couldn’t give him the tuition fee to him.”
Another lady, Manpreet Kaur said, “ATMs will start functioning again on Friday, which will be a respite to the problem. Bankers have assured that the new currency, lower denomination notes will be flushed in and in the coming days, normalcy will be restored.”
Hundreds of people thronged at the banks and majority of them were from lower and middle class income groups.
Satpal Mawalia, senior manager at a public sector bank in Katra Jaimal Singh branch said, “Our circle head has supervised the entire working at many branches in the city. He has asked us all to be efficient in our working and make sure that every customer is sent back satisfied. We have taken an initiative to sensitise people and educate them about currency deposits, withdrawals and further course of action.”
There was also a wall at the branch, where banners stating ‘Dear customers, don’t worry, your money is safe’ were put up.
Bankers personally came forward to pacify the customers and asked them not to panic. Lower income group people were seen asking for swapping of currency; and traders, industrialists and businessmen were seen depositing cash into their accounts, which many bankers felt is the impact of the announcement. The businessmen were seen taking back new currency note of Rs 2,000 and appreciating its texture and colour.
But majority of the people said, “Yeh chalana kaise hai ab, logon ke paas khulle to hain nahi aaj kal.”
An employee at a rice exporting mill, Gurmeet Singh, who came to deposit cash, said, “There are dealers in our circle, who are accepting Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 note, but the problem is that we will then have to exchange it at bank. Banks should flush in more lower denomination notes to regularise the situation.”
Chemists refuse to accept old currency in Pathankot
PATHANKOT: It was a rush for new currency notes in almost all banks in Pathankot, where residents had started gathering before the gates of banks even before it was opened.
There was chaos as people not only crowded the banks’ premises but also parked their vehicles haphazardly, thus causing long traffic jams.
Banks that had opened additional windows were struggling to deal with the heavy footfall of customers, while many had to close their gates multiple times seeing the full house situation.
The customers are being requested not to panic, as we are here to help them, he added.
Meanwhile, Pathankot chemists decided not to accept the old currency notes, which is likely to hit the health of patients who are not be able to arrange for the required medicines as they do not have the new currency or small currency denominations.
Rajesh Mahajan, president of district chemists’ association, said that the government must exempt chemists from this ban till the new currency notes come in the market in abundance, to ensure our cooperation.
Umesh Gulati, a bank customer said that he had more than Rs 10,000 in old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. But he could exchange only Rs 4,000 for now, which will not serve his requirements.
The business community is facing a hard time, as customers are offering us the old currency notes, which are of no use now, he rued.