Banks closure adds to woes in Telangana, Andhra

Hyderabad/Vijayawada, Nov 14 (IANS) Closure of banks in Telangana on Monday further added to the woes of people reeling under a severe currency crunch while in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh long queues were witnessed outside the banks for a fifth consecutive day.

With no cash in hand for their daily expenses, people turned out in large numbers at banks and post offices for exchange of demonetised notes but were disappointed to learn that it was a holiday on account of Guru Nanak jayanti.

Though banks functioned over the weekend, this was not sufficient to meet the requirements of the people. Hoping that banks will function normally, many turned up at bank branches since early morning.

With no small currency to buy the essentials, the lower middle class and daily wage earners were hit hard.

“I neither have a debit nor a credit card to make purchases like others. No kirana shop is accepting the old notes,” said Pochamma, a housewife, who came to exchange the money at State Bank of India branch in Toli Chowki but returned disappointed.

With ATMs remaining closed, there was no relief for the people. Narsing Rao, a retired employee, made several rounds to ATMs in AKoti and surrounding areas in Central Hyderabad but found all of them closed.

‘Out of service’ and ‘Out of cash’ hanging from the doors of ATMs greeted the customers. Some banks preferred to close and lock the ATMs.

The situation was no different in other towns across Telangana. Traders complained that the shortage of small currency has hit hard the businesses.

In Hyderabad, police arrested Telangana unit Congress President Uttam Kumar Reddy and other leaders for staging a protest against demonetisation. The protestors raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress leaders said people were suffering due to ill-conceived move of the Centre.

The Congress party also staged protests in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Long queues were seen at banks and post offices in Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and other towns in Andhra Pradesh.

Police were having a tough time in controlling crowds as utter chaos prevailed at almost all bank branches. With ATMs remaining closed, people had no alternative but to stand in queues and wait for hours for their turn to exchange the demonetised notes.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday reviewed the situation. He asked the bankers and other officials to be on alert till the situation returned to normal.

The Chief Minister directed officials to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to people. He said separate counters should be opened for women and senior citizens.

–IANS

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