Bank branches provided some respite to customers in terms of cash availability on Saturday eleven days after demonetisation but long queues outside ATMs persisted, as three more deaths stated due to cash crisis were reported in Uttar Pradesh. Many banks reported shorter queues following some restrictions on exchange of scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes but people were still seen waiting in frustration at ATMs due to cash scarcity.
All banks served only their respective customers and will not exchange the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from customers of other banks. However, this restriction was not applicable on senior citizens as they are allowed to visit any bank branches to exchange the defunct notes. A 75 year old man identified as Kamta Prasad was standing in a queue before Dhikauuni branch of Bank of India in Harodi in UP when he was taken ill and died on the spot, Shyam Babu Shukla, Station officer of Atrauli police station, said.
In Aligarh, 50-year-old Babu Lal, a resident of Nagla Mansingh, died due to heart attack after apparently failing to exchange old currency notes despite making persistent efforts at different banks since the past three days, his family claimed. The victim was under tremendous pressure as his daughter’s wedding was slated for November 26, they said. Babu Lal complained of chest pain after returning from a bank on Friday. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
In another incident also in Aligarh, Mohammed Idrees (45), a resident of Jamalpur locality under Civil Lines police station, died of heart attack while he was on his way to a bank to exchange old currency yesterday, his family claimed. They alleged that Idrees had no bank account, but he was making rounds of a local bank to exchange old notes since the past four days.
Local SP legislator Zameer Ullah Khan said the death of both Babulal and Idrees were connected with the “shock and frustration over failure to get currency notes exchanged” and demanded proper compensation for their families. There was no let-up in the queues outside ATMs in Mumbai while those opting for bank withdrawal had a tad smooth run as banks offered exchange service of scrapped currencies only to their respective customers.
Several ATMs counters in South Mumbai and suburban areas continued to remain shut as cash ran dry, compounding inconvenience of the cash-strapped people. A visibly upset Mulund resident, Anees Khan said he could only get Rs 2,000 from a bank against the permissible limit of Rs 24,000. None of the ATMs, whether onsite or offsite, in the central business district of Kolkata were open causing immense inconvenience to the account holders.
With Friday’s announcement that exchange of notes would be made available to senior citizens only, queues were seen in the bank branches in several parts of city which comprised mainly younger and the middle-aged across genders. “These people have mainly come for withdrawals from their accounts”, a manager with Bank of Baroda’s Dum Dum branch said. In many places, long queues were seen in front ATMs where cash vans were parked outside.