Residents continued to face a harrowing time for the second consecutive day on Friday, as they queued up for several hours outside banks and ATM kiosks to withdraw new currency notes. The government had banned notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination from November 8 midnight and only allowed petrol pumps, hospitals, transport sector and selected organisations to accept these notes till November 11 midnight. The banks were closed on November 9 and had opened to long queues of people who rushed to withdraw new currency on Thursday.
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Despite extended timings, the rush continued on Friday in banks and outside ATM kiosks across the Tricity. ATM kiosks on the premises of the banks were being loaded with cash after every few hours while other ATMs at markets were shut down in the afternoon as there was no cash.
“The ATMs which were adjacent to the banks had money, but there were long queues. It took several hours to withdraw money. It is causing a lot inconvenience. The government and banks should have planned it in a proper manner,” said Ashish Mishra, who was standing in a queue.
A number of ATM kiosks were shut, as they ran out of cash. In Panchkula, only few ATMs, including those in Sector 4, were open, but there were long queues.
“There are separate notifications for each of the banks, but most of them are open till 6 pm. The congestion will ease in next few days as more ATM kiosks will open after they are loaded with fresh currency. Old currency can be deposited in banks till December 30, so people need not rush to the banks immediately,” said S L Paul, lead bank manager, Panchkula.
The reduced cash flow also affected the shopkeepers who highlighted a drop in the sales of goods. “The suppliers are not giving the delivery due to lack of change available. We have used all Rs 100 notes that were available with us. There is a drop of 70 per cent sale in goods,” said Yogesh Mahajan, a shopkeeper.
The bank branch ATMs were being regularly monitored by the authorities and were refilled after regular intervals. “As soon as the ATMs ran out of money, we loaded them again with cash. We have adequate back-up of money for today but will need to bring more money form the head office for tomorrow,” said Anil Roy, branch manager, Punjab National Bank.
(With inputs from Panchkula)