Congress demand extended banking hours for some more days

Mumbai, Nov 10 (IANS) Citing the “tremendous hardships” faced by the people post-demonetisation of Rs 500/1,000 notes, Congress’ Mumbai unit on Thursday demanded that service hours of all banks should be extended for several more days.

“I visited several bank branches and found tremendous anger among the people. They had to wait in long queues for four-five hours to get their old notes exchanged, and yet many could only get Rs 2,000 in new notes,” said unit chief Sanjay Nirupam.

He said that the newly-issued Rs 500 notes were not available in most banks, and though people could deposit their monies, in some banks they could not make withdrawals as currency stocks were exhausted.

Nirupam urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that in view of the massive public impact following the demonetisation, all banks should be directed to work beyond 6 p.m. for the next few days.

“This will enable even those working or living in far-flung areas who can carry out their banking transactions, exchange cancelled notes, withdraw, make payments, etc,” he added.

Nirupam said that all trade, business and commercial activities had come to a standstill since Tuesday night when the government announced demonetisation of these currency notes to curb black money and corruption.

Meanwhile, ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar said that many of its branches worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and others functioned from 9 a.m. All branches had extended their working by two hours and will continue to do so till Friday, she said.

State Bank Of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said that though there was huge rush in its branches, their staffers were trying to cope with the situation and appealed to public to make maximum of debit cards for payments.

Chaos and confusion prevailed across Maharashtra after post-offices, banks and ATMs opened for work first time after the demonetisation, with millions rushing to exchange the cancelled notes, make withdrawals, payments and other transactions.

After queuing up for hours, at some bank branches, the customers were dismayed to find banks’ currency chests were exhausted within the first half, at others they reached late, many sought higher cash withdrawals but were restricted by government restrictions.