STANDING IN line at different bank branches for hours in the face of the ongoing currency crisis, two people died in Kerala on Friday, as banks and ATM kiosks recorded long queues for the second successive day after they reopened following the scrapping of currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination.
Karthikeyan, 72, a native of Harippadu in Alappuzha district, collapsed and died in front of a State Bank of Travancore (SBT) branch after standing in queue for several hours since Friday morning. He was taken to a nearby hospital but could not be saved, the police said.
The other incident took place in Thalassery in north Kerala. A state electricity board employee named Unni, 48, fell from the second floor of the bank’s branch and died, the police said.
According to the police, Unni had recently got cash amounting to Rs 8 lakh from various sources to buy land. On Thursday, he had deposited the first installment of the money and returned to the bank on Friday with the remaining Rs 5.5 lakh, a police official said.
With the line in the bank snaking downstairs, he stood waiting for hours. As he neared the bank’s entrance and reached the second floor, he fell down, the police said. “He was reportedly tense over the currency crisis. We have to ascertain whether it was a case of suicide or he fell down accidentally through the window of the building,’’ the police official said.
In cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Thrissur and Kozhikode, banks filled ATMs with currency notes on multiple occasions and they helped mitigate the situation for the people to some extent, but ATMs remained closed for the third consecutive day in semi-urban and rural areas.
Meanwhile, release of films in the state has been postponed until the currency crisis is over. Sales of lottery tickets and liquor, the main sources of tax revenue for state government, have come down drastically.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the deadline to use the prevailing currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in essential services should be extended by another week.