Currency crisis engulfs Ranchi

Ranchi, Nov 14 (IANS) Tens of thousands of people hungry for cash raced from one ATM to another here on Monday — only to find almost all of them shut and without money.

Six days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, the currency crisis only appears to be going from bad to worse in the Jharkhand capital.

All banks were shut on Monday on account of Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti.

Although the holiday does not apply to ATMs, most of them were shuttered all across Ranchi, disappointing people desperate to withdraw money.

An IANS correspondent saw people gathered outside the main branch of the State Bank of India on Kutchury Road, hoping the ATMs in the bank premises may commence functioning.

Those in dire need of money were found running from one ATM to another, looking for one with cash.

At several places in Ranchi, men and women as well as the young were massed near ATMs from the morning, hoping they may open around afternoon. They didn’t.

Some people were heard asking their friends and relatives on phones if they knew of any functional ATM.

People with medical emergency appeared to be the worst-hit.

Most private hospitals and nursing homes are reportedly not accepting cheques or taking payment from debit or credit cards.

“In the morning I walked around 5 kilometres in search of an ATM and could not find even one that was working. My wife is pregnant and I have to buy important medicines,” said Abhishek Kumar, a Ranchi resident.

Worse, the lower denomination notes seem to have disappeared, making it very difficult for people to buy even food items and goods of daily use.

Many said that the government should have planned the demonetisation better.