Two weeks after PM Narendra Modi-led Central government announced demonetisation of old higher denomination currency notes, queues outside banks and ATMs have become a usual sight across the country. With a limit on exchange and withdrawal of cash from both banks and ATMs, and shortage of currency notes has led to a chaotic situation. The opposition parties have come together in an attempt to corner BJP government over the issue claiming the lack of planning was creating extreme problems for people.
To verify whether media was spreading lies, a Bengaluru man – Tinu Cherian Abraham – decided to go on an ATM trail on Sunday and shared what he witnessed on micro-blogging platform Twitter. “ATM Trail was an impromptu action for a reality check on the enormity of cash crisis at ATMs as spoken on media – both traditional and social media. Before the note ban, all these ATMs work normally even on Sunday…I wanted to see if it is the same almost 2 weeks after the ban,” he told IndianExpress.com.
Tinu – a social media celebrity – visited 23 ATMs close to his residence starting from HDFC bank’s Kadugodi branch ATM. Abraham managed to check 16 ATMs in the first three hours and found that 13 of them were out of cash. The rest, as he said, were dispensing only Rs 2,000 notes and had long queues outside.
— Tinu Cherian Abraham (@tinucherian) November 20, 2016
In the next few hours, Tinu visited seven more ATMs before he stopped his trail. Out of these seven, he found that six ATMs were out of cash and the only one working – a Canara bank ATM in KR Puram – was also dispensing only Rs 2,000 notes.
“Scouted all ATMs I could find in 2 areas – so that people don’t assume I cherry picked the ATMs that doesn’t work,” Tinu said.
Banks are in a process of recalibrating all the ATM machines across the country so that they can dispense the new Rs 2000 and Rs 500 notes which have different dimensions compared to previous notes. Some experts suggest that the process might take about three months to complete. Till then, most of the ATMs can only dispense Rs 100 notes, bringing down their storage capability significantly.