ON THE first payday after demonetisation, banks in Doaba region went cashless after a few hours in the morning. At several banks, the staff turned to educating and motivating customers to go for card, mobile and e-payments to pay their electricity, mobile and ration bills. Even banks like SBI, PNB, Union Bank, Bank of India, Punjab and Sindh Bank, UCO Bank, etc. where a large number of government employees and pensioners have their salary accounts, ran out of cash after a few hours.
“Since morning, we could pay around 300 customers. But there is a huge queue and banks have no cash,” said an official at the PNB main branch, adding that they had demanded more cash now.
Similar, was the condition at SBI where people alleged that bank officials were obliging only those they knew by ignoring those standing in queue since morning. Most of the semi-functional ATMs, too, went dry before noon.
“We have been managing people who are really angry and RBI is not responding to our queries pertaining to supply of funds now,” said another official at Bankof Baroda.
“There are a total of 42 banks with 799 branches in Jalandhar district only. But the supply of currency is pathetic and condition is worst in the rural areas,” said a senior Punjab and Sindh Bank official.
RBI had promised to supply sufficient currency for payday but it didn’t happen, said a Bank of India official.
“How can we believe in the government now which had promised to pay Rs 10,000 cash from our salary but banks have no money,” said a government schoolteacher. “On payday, banks go cashless which is surprising how the government, without any preparation, have been making such promises,” said another government employee.
Even people working in non-government sectors could not withdraw their salaries from the ATMs or banks in the absence of cash. Wattan Singh, Lead District Manager, UCO Bank, and spokesperson for banks in the entire district, said according to the demand for payday, the currency supply was not adequate as RBI has been making all possible effort to supply more and more currencies. “While paying cash to the customers, we are educating the people to go for more and more credit card and e-transaction to ease their lives during this migration period from having more cash to moving almost cashless.”
Meanwhile, of the 580 ATMs of all the 42 banks in Jalandhar, more than half have not been functioning since demonetisation as there are no currency notes available to fill these ATMs.