There was little improvement in the situation outside banks and ATMs in Gujarat on Sunday with people waiting in long queues to exchange or withdraw money for their daily expenses. Tempers ran high at several places after verbal spat between bank officials and the public, though no violence was reported.
Owing to heavy rush of people to exchange now-defunct notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, all banks remained open on Saturday and Sunday.
Watch What Else is Making News
Many banks ran out of cash by noon and people had to return without any cash. At Punjab National Bank’s Sola Road Branch, Vijay Patel, a salesman, said: “I was in the queue till 12.30 pm when we were informed that bank has ran out of cash… I returned after three hours, and there is still no cash.”
Like Patel, Shivraj Dhonpuriya, a cobbler, also returned empty handed, but he was not upset. “This was not the only day for exchange. I will come back tomorrow. My son a couple of days ago had received fresh cash and we’ve enough for three days,” he said.
Dhonpuriya said “honest people should not panic”. “ It’s actually a panic time for those who stored rucksacks of money in their homes. I have no problem in standing in queues and co-operate.”
People also complained of difficulties in using new currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination as shops don’t have “change” for such a big amount.
Triveni Jha, a security guard, said, “It has become difficult to transact with new Rs 2000 note. Even if you want to by something like groceries or vegetables, you won’t be able to buy because no one will give you change for Rs 2000.”
Those who could get their work done from the banks had to stand in queues for hours. “I was in queue since 11.30 am. And I came out of the bank at 2.30 pm,” said Hetal Christian, a homemaker who visited Bank of India’s Vastrapur branch. Christian expressed her satisfaction with the bank officials.
Security guards deployed at various banks said that there were some instances of verbal spat with people standing in the queue, but no major incident of violence was reported.
Jyotsna Makwana, a guard at Dena Bank’s Shardanagar Society Branch, said, “We had verbal clashes with customers, but we managed to calm the tempers by explaining them the situation.”
N D Trivedi, police inspector at Ahmedabad City Police Control Room, said, “We are patrolling banks continuously and making sure that the things go on smoothly. Till now, the situation is under control.”