At 11 am on Thursday almost all banks were penniless. Residents of the Tricity were seen heading from one ATM to another, making desperate attempts to procure their salaries on the first day of the month. Those who tried withdrawing money from the bank counter too had no luck.
Out of the 15-odd ATMs visited by a Newsline team in Panchkula and Chandigarh, 12 were non-functional. The ATMs of the IndusInd Bank in Sector 9, Panchkula; ICICI bank in Sector 11, Panchkula; and SBI in Sector 17, Chandigarh, were dispensing cash. Five ATMs in Sector 19, Chandigarh, were not dispensing cash.
The Allahabad Bank in Sector 11 had cash but as the server was not working, the bank officials were unable to release any money to those who had lined up for withdrawals. Titu, a resident of Panchkula, said he reached the Panchkula Sector 8 HDFC branch to withdraw money but the bank said it had no funds. Bank officials said their requirement was Rs 40 lakh daily, but the bank was not getting this amount. Amit Sharma, a resident of Morni, who wanted to withdraw his salary, too, returned disappointed. “I had come to the bank yesterday as well. The money was not released as the bank officials claimed they had no money,” he said.
Branch manager, HDFC, Panchkula, Vikas Rajendra Sharma said, “We are not getting sufficient cash from back-end due to which were are unable to release money to clients. There is an acute shortage of cash.” However, the banks are accommodating senior citizens who want to withdraw less money. A businessman, Sunil Nigam, a resident of Sector 28 in Chandigarh, said, “I wanted to withdraw Rs 40,000 from the Canara Bank as I had to give salaries to my employees but the money was not released. The banks do not have money and are helpless. I have been trying to withdraw money for the last two days but due to insufficient funds, the cash was not released.”
State Bank of Patiala general manager Devendra Kumar said, “The situation is likely to improve when the banks will start getting notes other than Rs 2,000. As of now we do not know when we will get them. The basic problem is the gap between the two denominations which are easily available with the general public — Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,00. No one is accepting the Rs 2,000 notes and no one is giving Rs 100 notes.”