Chaos reigns in Bengaluru as banks run out of cash

Bengaluru, Nov 10 (IANS) It was a harrowing Thursday for thousands of people here as hundreds of state-run and private banks ran out of cash due to delay in delivery and limited supply of lower currency notes. two days after Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denominations were demonetised.

Even before banks opened for business, hundreds of customers were assembled in serpentine queues in front of them to exchange or deposit the invalid notes.

To the rude shock of the waiting people, many branches in commercial and residential areas ran out of Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes within an hour.

“Due to limited supply of Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes to our branch, we had to shut the counters till afternoon as we ran out of even Rs 20 and Rs 10 notes due to heavy demand for them,” State Bank of India’s (SBI) Shivajinagar branch employee Sreenivasa Rao told IANS.

With the Reserve Bank of India office here delaying delivery of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes to the treasury offices of the various banks, the branches could not get them till late afternoon.

“Though every customer was entitled to exchange only eight Rs 500 or four Rs 1,000 old notes for the new Rs 2,000 note for the day, we could not meet the demand and had to request the customers to come on Friday,” said Rao.

With the ATMs of all banks remaining shut for the second consecutive day, thousands of people who flocked to the banks to draw fresh cash or exchange the invalid notes were left stranded.

“We transact about Rs 50-60 lakh cash daily in our branch, with 80 per cent of it in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. As we got only Rs 25 lakh from the RBI through our treasury chest, we could not meet the demand as we ran out of all notes by noon,” said Karnataka Bank’s industrial finance branch manager Sannanda Kumar.

As the RBI first dispatched the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes to the bank’s main branches in the central business district, other branches had to wait till 2-3 p.m. for them.

Though customers had no problem in depositing any amount of cash, including the invalid old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, they had to wait for hours at the teller counters to exchange them due to heavy rush,

The situation was worse in the post offices across the city due to limited counters and cash crunch as notes of all denominations, ran out of stock and the RBI failed to replenish them.

“We are hoping for some respite from Friday when ATMs reopen and most of the customers using debit cards would be able to draw cash up to Rs 2,000 each per day per card till November 18 and Rs.4,000 each daily from November 19 per card,” said Kumar.