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Payments for weddings held up due to shortage of cash; tourists panic

Unusual spurt in demand for currency led to many ATMs and banks running out of cash in 7 states even as the government and the RBI assured the public that there was no currency shortage.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2018 23:21 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Shimla
Cash crunch,ATM cash shortage,Weddings
Ahmedabad: A security guard sleeps near an 'out of service' ATM machine in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. PTI Photo (PTI4_17_2018_000136B)(PTI)

Several parts of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka reported shortage of cash in ATMs on Tuesday, prompting the government to assure people that the issue of “temporary shortage” was being “tackled quickly”.

A large number of ATMs remained empty on Tuesday and there were long queues at others where cash was still available.

Weddings hit

Purshottam Sharma (46), a farmer in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district needed Rs 2 lakh for his daughter Bharti Sharma’s wedding, scheduled on April 19, but failed to withdraw the money in the past two days.

“I needed the money to make last-minute purchases, pay the caterers, decorators and other sundry vendors, but the officials at the bank did not give me any cash, saying there was a crisis. Since I needed the money desperately, I pawned my wife’s jewellery to a moneylender and took cash from him.”

Roj Sharma, another anxious father in Bhind who required money ahead of his daughter’s wedding said he had to borrow money from his relatives.

“I had to make essential purchases which the groom had demanded, so I had to ask from my relatives who chipped in,” he said.

The chief minister of the state, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said on Monday that “certain people are hoarding Rs 2,000 notes to cause a cash crunch”.

Shimla tourists panic

Many ATMs in Shimla also ran dry, causing inconvenience to locals and tourists.

“We have visited four ATMs on Mall road and one at Lakkar Bazar but there is no cash in these machines,” said a Delhi tourist, Anant Khanna.

Locals said the ATMs that were functioning in the area were only dispensing Rs 100 notes. In Shimla’s Sanjauli, a few banks displayed ‘out of order’ signs outside ATMs.

“I withdrew the money from bank through cheque since many ATMs were empty in Shimla,” said another tourist, Supria Phadke said.

The sudden rush led to long queues at cash counters.

“We have the cash problem due to short of supply. But the problem will be resolved in next 24 hours as we have requested for the cash... We don’t know the exact reason of cash crunch but there was definitely the shortage,” Punjab National Bank’s circle head Deepak Kumar said.

First Published: Apr 17, 2018 23:20 IST