In Uttar Pradesh village, nervous staff, angry lines: ‘Have to withdraw money at any cost’

On pay day in rural Uttar Pradesh, the bank queues are longer, bank officials nervous and the policemen on guard extra-cautious.

Written by Apurva | Basti | Updated: December 2, 2016 9:08 am
demonetisation, demonetisation UP, UP demonetisation, cash crunch, no money,salary day, cashless economy, bank queue, bank rush, atm rush, no money banks, withdrawal limit, indian express news, india news At Chawni village in Basti district, UP. Source: Praveen Khanna

ON LEGS withered by polio, she makes her way to the bank, late by hours, the two queues — one for women, the other for men — already long and bubbling with anger.

Dismayed, she sits outside the closed gates of the Punjab National Bank branch in Pachwas village of Basti district, 40 km east of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. A policeman on duty spots her, asks the crowd to let her pass. They refuse. He pushes hard at the gate and the crowd relents. She makes her way in, her passbook, a pen and ID cards in a bag slung around her neck.

Less than 15 minutes later, she is out. Her brother, waiting by a motorcycle, helps her on to the rear seat and they leave quickly, refusing to talk or even identify themselves. The reason is obvious from the comments that follow: “I wish I was like that”; “We have been here for hours and she gets to go inside just like that”. The policeman shames them into silence with a string of expletives.

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On pay day in rural Uttar Pradesh, the bank queues are longer, bank officials nervous and the policemen on guard extra-cautious. At the PNB branch in Pachwas, the first customers started queuing up at 6 am. For the previous 22 days, since the central government withdrew Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the queues used to start by 8 am.

“I have run the whole of last month on credit and have several payments to make. I have to withdraw money today at any cost,” says Mahendra Yadav, an assistant at a local mechanic shop.

Yadav says he was being been paid in cash for the last three years but his employer handed him a cheque on Tuesday. “I had to stand in line yesterday to deposit the cheque. Today, I have to withdraw the money,” he says. Yadav gets his chance, three hours later.

But then, getting in is just the first step. In Chawni village, 6 km away, customers are allowed to withdraw only Rs 6,000 each. “The bank staff told me that they have enough money only for a few hundred withdrawals and that they have to ensure cash for as many customers as possible. So much for the Rs 24,000 limit,” says Iqbal Rashid, an employee at a motorcycle showroom, 8 km away.

Rashid says his colleagues have devised a rotation system. “You can either stand in queue or work. My three colleagues and I worked out a system where one of us gets to go to the bank every three hours. Hopefully, I will get some cash today, I need it for my mother’s medicines. She has been having breathing trouble and the medicine is available only in Faizabad,” he says.

According to Rashid, many customers have debit cards, but those are of little use.

“Not a single ATM works between here and Faizabad. I have tried them all. Most have been shut since the November 8 demonetisation announcement,” he says.

On Thursday, the Chawni branch has extra security. Two policemen inside the bank, four more in the compound, where more than 50 women sit on the ground waiting patiently, and two more patrolling outside where the men wait.

On Wednesday morning, four women and a policeman were injured after the agitated crowd forced their way in. “It was bad yesterday.

There were only two policemen on duty and they could not hold the crowd back. We are more prepared today,” says an officer.

Now, only women are allowed inside the compound. “A bank official comes out every two hours and hands out tokens to the men outside. They are allowed in one by one. People have become desperate now. You can watch, they will not leave the bank even if we announce that the money is over,” says the officer.

For Leela Yadav, who walked 2 km from Minauli village before hailing a share autorickshaw for the remaining 12, it is the waiting that’s frustrating. “Nobody really knows what is happening. Nobody knows how much money is in, how much goes out or who gets how much. I came here yesterday and had to leave when the situation became violent. I’m back today because I have no choice. I can withdraw money only from this account at this branch,” she says.

Vidhyadhar has the only laptop in Minauli and runs an SBI customer service point for at least 500 account-holders there. That laptop has remained shut since 10.30 am today.

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  1. J
    Jim
    Dec 2, 2016 at 3:01 am
    Sab ka Saath sab ka VINASH
    Reply
    1. A
      A
      Dec 2, 2016 at 6:07 am
      I think most of the people who can read the online version can use the plastic money to the extent possible and give room for the others who can not operate a plastic money.that is if you are convinced this is the right move by the government. If we are not happy with the way this govt.is functioning we can always exercise the other option of throwing the govt. in the next election
      Reply
      1. A
        Arun Jain
        Dec 2, 2016 at 2:59 am
        This was expected. Bharat is not ready yet. No infrastructure. Very poorly planned. BJP motives : Collect all the white money from general public, save the corrupt who really have the black money, write off loans of corrupt people with BJP connections.
        Reply
        1. A
          Abhishek
          Dec 2, 2016 at 5:01 am
          The data shows otherwise. I will create an idol of Modi and garland his idol everyday the day when Bacchans and Ambanis are inside jail for black money.
          Reply
          1. B
            Balaji
            Dec 2, 2016 at 3:06 am
            This is coloured story by the media and the group who are not supporting the demonetisation. These people are narrating the story as if before the declaration long queue were not seen in the bank. In my experience whenever I was going to state bank during this pay day always I have seen the big queue . What is the new now . Only some people wants to narrate the story in negative way. If queue is so long then staff can start the numbering and tell to the people the convenient time may be tomorrow or day after tomorrow. Many solution are there, why people(media) thinks that this is the end of the road. For any Good move if some problem comes what is the wrong in managing the same.
            Reply
            1. K
              Kaliyug
              Dec 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm
              The majority of the poor never had so many notes till the demonetization news, all they are doing is changing the money for the local and national politicians and policemen in their surroundings. It has become a big business to play the victim card while fraudulently changing money for the corrupt on commission. Thanks to the media to show people on crutches painfully standing in line to change lakhs of rupees.
              Reply
              1. F
                Fuddu
                Dec 2, 2016 at 2:27 pm
                again a chu.... mandbuddhi bhakt spotted making irrelevant comparision
                Reply
                1. G
                  gafoor
                  Dec 2, 2016 at 5:12 am
                  why don't you stick on topic?
                  Reply
                  1. G
                    Girish Mishra
                    Dec 2, 2016 at 5:03 am
                    UP Vidhan Sabha elections are going to take place in a few months and then the people will teach the government a lesson. They are angry but they will express it at a suitable time.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      SM NAS
                      Dec 2, 2016 at 4:37 pm
                      modiji's karishma, Old wine new (not bottle) bottles||
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Mohammed Ismail
                        Dec 2, 2016 at 2:50 am
                        Every corner of India it's happening ..but who listens.. Jaitley ji blames media for showing negatives
                        Reply
                        1. J
                          Joydeep
                          Dec 2, 2016 at 3:19 am
                          Completely true. I have seen these long queues with my own eyes yesterday. Markets are out of business. Not even coffee shops which are haunted by card-swiping crowds are doing well - completely empty.
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            mediahater
                            Dec 2, 2016 at 2:43 am
                            Well and good . Again vote for Modi !
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              sawan
                              Dec 2, 2016 at 7:49 am
                              So you think going to the ATM is the same as going to a temple for "Darshan"? Do we go to Balaji for money to pay for urgent needs like medicines and food? People make plans to go to Tirupati, not when they are desperate to meet their needs. They go when they have made all arrangements at home for the days they are (like taking leave from work) going to the temple and relaxed in their minds.
                              Reply
                              1. X
                                xyz
                                Dec 2, 2016 at 3:29 am
                                Be Patriotic. Modiji has asked us to be patriotic. Wait till your turn. Don't you see even Ambani and Adani are standing in the queue.
                                Reply
                                1. X
                                  xyz
                                  Dec 2, 2016 at 3:30 am
                                  Then everybody got paid. Today only fifty.
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    shamim
                                    Dec 2, 2016 at 4:29 am
                                    Jai ho...ketliji ki
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      shamim
                                      Dec 2, 2016 at 4:30 am
                                      Modi effect..na khaunga na khanay dunga...maro bhukhoon
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        shamim
                                        Dec 2, 2016 at 4:33 am
                                        imandar ka vinash
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          sk
                                          Dec 2, 2016 at 7:04 am
                                          Every one will be forced to sell chai and nothing else. But who will buy that when every one is selling chai.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            sujata
                                            Dec 2, 2016 at 2:28 am
                                            This is what happens when a chaiwala suddenly becomes a PM, amkes any decision he wants!!! #dumpthisfeku #jumlaparty #bhakts
                                            Reply
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