2 Deaths in cash crunch, Home ministry asks banks to ensure security

New Delhi, Nov 11: The home ministry has asked all states to provide security to banks, post offices and ATMs amid a scramble for cash three days after the government’s sudden decision to take Rs. 500 and 1000 notes out of circulation to crack down on black or untaxed money.

Amid the woes of customers hit by cash crunch, a 73-year-old man, who was standing in a queue to exchange his old currency notes here, collapsed and died in suburban Mulund this afternoon, police said.

Vishwanath Vartak, a senior citizen, was standing in a queue outside a branch of the State Bank of India in Navghar area of Mulund (East) to exchange his notes when he suddenly fell down at around 1.30 pm, they said.

As he fell, some people, who were also in the queue, rushed him to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead before admission, police said adding that the body has been sent for postmortem.

In Kerala, a 48-year-old man, who came to deposit Rs five lakh worth scrapped high denomination notes in a bank here, died after he fell down from the second floor of the building today, police said.

People this morning rushed to ATMs, which reopen two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the two biggest currency notes are now just “worthless pieces of paper”.

The shock announcement led to a late night scramble to ATMs on Tuesday before they shut for the turnaround.

ATMs were to start releasing new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes from Thursday midnight. However, the crowds at many of the machines grew increasingly agitated at learning that they were still inactive. Bank officials said ATMs have not stocked up yet.

Banks announced yesterday that the surcharge for using ATMs of different banks has been waived for now.