Demonetisation: A month on, cashlessness sting just as painful

New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) A day to the month after high denomination notes were banned, there was no respite in sight for cash-strapped people on Wednesday as queues outside banks and ATMs for money withdrawal continued across the country with rising anger and pain.

There was a crowd of about 30-40 customers at the Axis Bank in Sector 16 of Noida, adjoining Delhi.

Many among the crowd were arguing with the guard for not informing them that the bank had run out of cash. Out of desperation, they asked the guard to let them in and see for themselves that there was no cash.

“The bank ran out of cash at 10.30 a.m. I have been telling people to return, but they won’t listen,” the bank guard told IANS.

Customers complained that they were never informed whether there was any cash left or not.

“Are we fools to stand here for hours, only to hear that there’s no money left,” an angry young woman shouted.

Marmik, an HCL Technologies employee, said he joined the queue at 6.30 a.m. after returning from his night shift. He was yet to get money even at 2 p.m.

“There were 40 people outside the bank in the morning, three hours befor the bank opened. By the time my turn came around 1 p.m., the bank officials announced there was no cash. My shift starts at 5:30 p.m. and I’m now not only cashless, but sleepless too,” said Marmik.

The situation at the adjoining Kotak Mahindra bank was worse since it received no cash at all during the day.

“We didn’t receive any cash today (Wednesday). We had cash on Monday. We are not certain if we will have it on Thursday,” Customer Service Manager Ishwar told IANS.

“Our ATM hasn’t seen any money since November 8. We can’t say when it will have money,” he added.

Many people who live in rented accommodations found their pain doubled, when their landlords refused to accept cheques or payments through e-wallets. Many said they were threatened with being thrown out if they didn’t pay in cash.

“We are seven tenants here and my landlord has always dealt in cash. He wouldn’t accept cheques from us, and threatened to kick us out,” Anubhav Dey, a student in New friends Colony, in south Delhi, told IANS.

Many among the hundreds of people standing in queues were heard blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the pain of cashlessness after the government’s November 8 demonetisation decision.

“Modi is not going to come back to power for the next 15 years,” said a man standing in queue at an SBI ATM on Parliament Street.

Lucky from Paschim Vihar, in west Delhi, asked where were the ‘achche din’, recalling the government’s promise of better days after the BJP came to power in 2014.

The efficacy of e-wallet apps like Paytm was also in question as issues kept emerging related to network connectivity resulting in transaction failures.

“Modi’s idea of infrastructure building is Paytm! The success of its working depends upon many things. What if my phone dies on me? What if I am at a place where I have no internet connectivity? I am dangerously dependent on my phone now and I am not liking it,” Victor, a trained biologist, told IANS. He was in a queue outside an ATM at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.

–IANS

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