With four-day bank closure, people brace up for ATM ‘dry run’
With a large number of ATMs either running out of cash or lying defunct, residents fear that closure of banks from March 29 to April 2, barring March 31, may lead to a cash crisis.lucknow Updated: Mar 29, 2018 13:56 IST
With a large number of ATMs either running out of cash or lying defunct, residents fear that closure of banks from March 29 to April 2, barring March 31, may lead to a cash crisis.
Banks will remain closed on March 29 and March 30 for Mahavir Jayanti and Good Friday and will work on March 31. Banks will shut again on April 2 (Monday) for annual closing of accounts.
“Many ATMs are either out of cash or out of order. Banks are not bothered to ensure availability of cash. This is a major cause of inconvenience for the people,” said Saurabh Shukla, a private sector employee who reached an ATM only to find it closed.
Some residents said it was the responsibility of banks to ensure proper maintenance of ATMs.
“Initially, there were rumours that banks will remain closed for five days — from March 29 to April 2. Later, we came to know that banks will work on March 31. I don’t think opening of banks for one day will make any difference,” a city resident said.
“A few ATMs that are running fail to dispense desired amount. If you want to withdraw Rs 5,000, the ATM will only dispense Rs 2,000 banknotes which causes inconvenience,” said Sudhakar Shukla, a retired government employee.
The city has around 900 ATMs but according to a rough estimate, more than 50 per cent ATMs are without cash or lying defunct.
When contacted, AGM (ATM), State Bank of India (SBI), KC Agarwal refused to comment on the issue.
“There is a shortage of Rs 2,000 and Rs 100 banknotes, therefore, the entire load is on Rs 500 notes. This has led to a crisis situation. Another reason contributing to the problem is load of customers that has increased manifold after demonetisation,” a banking source said.
He said the demand for currency notes placed by lead banks to ensure proper supply in ATMs was not met.
Bank employees associated with various unions, however, said the problem was due to old ATM machines. “As many ATM machines are old, they cannot bear the load. Cash filling by private agencies and lack of maintenance aggravates the problem,” a bank employee said.
General secretary of Bank of India Employees Union VK Sengar said: “Everything from filling cash to repairing of ATM machines is in private hands. Consumers are at the receiving end. It’s perhaps the same reason why ATMs near bank’s branch have cash while those in far-flung areas run dry.”
He said old ATM machines should be replaced to improve service.