Long queues continue outside Delhi banks, ATMs

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Serpantine queues continued outside banks and ATMs for the sixth consecutive day on Tuesday as many anxious people waited for hours to deposit or exchange their spiked currency notes or obtain cash.

The queues continued throughout the day, and yet many people had to return empty-handed after hours of standing around outside ATM kiosks. Some said they will return during late night hours to try their luck at the cash vending machines.

“I am a daily wager and the only earning person in a six-member family. I have no time to wait for hours in queues to withdraw my own hard-earned money. But shortage of grocery at home and illness of my younger son do not allow me to wait till the situation turns normal,” said Budhram of Dallupura village in east Delhi.

Budhram said he returned empty-handed after standing in serpentine queues outside ATMs in Vasundhara Enclave — also in east Delhi — for the last two days. He said he will again try his luck on Tuesday evening while returning from work.

Former bank employee Smita Gupta, in her 60s, said she finally withdrew Rs 2,500 on Tuesday afternoon from an ATM near her house in Pandav Nagar in east Delhi but only after standing in queue for three hours from 11.30 a.m.

Gupta said she had not been able to withdraw money since November 10 — when ATMs opened after two days of closure after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

Amandeep Saluja ran out of luck and the ATM ran out of cash. After standing in queue for around three hours outside an ICICI Bank ATM in Model Town, Saluja said, “The ATM ran out of cash just when there were only five persons left in front of me, apart from around a hundred others behind me.”

“Since then, I am using plastic money and have also borrowed some money from my relatives.”

Saluja said she will not withdraw money now. “Let people who are really in need get it first.”

A visibly anxious young man said he did not have any cash on him. “If I don’t get cash today, I would not be able to manage to buy things I need,” he told IANS.

A housewife said the government’s sudden announcement has brought her life to a standstill. She griped that she was standing in a queue leaving all her other pending work.

“We will die of hunger if we don’t get cash. Instead of cooking breakfast for my children, I am standing in a queue so that I can get cash to buy bread and butter,” Kalpana said.

Rupa, who works in a private company, said she was unable to concentrate on her job. She said she was forced to stand at ATMs for hours, and added that the “cashlessness” was affecting both her personal and professional life.

Despite facing difficulty, some people supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise high-denomination currency and said they were ready to face any situation for the country’s sake.