Month after demonetisation: Noida woman faints in queue for cash

Noida, Dec 8 (IANS) A woman, in a long queue outside a bank near a Metro station here, fainted after suffering an epileptic seizure on Thursday morning. Across the country millions continued to experience hardships due to cashlessness, a month after the government announced demonetisation of high value currency notes.

The woman, apparently in her late 20s, with an Aadhaar card in her hand, suddenly started feeling dizzy, convulsed and collapsed on the road. An IANS correspondent was present and saw the woman get epileptic seizure outside the Axis Bank near the Sector 16 Metro station.

A group of Good Samaritans stepped out the queue and rushed to help her. Some of them began rubbing her hands and feet till she revived some 10 minutes after she lost her consciousness.

The woman later quietly walked away and didn’t resume her place in the queue to await her turn and withdraw money from the bank.

Long queues of cash-starved men and women outside banks and ATM kiosks have become ubiquitous across the country since the government on November 8 decided to spike nearly 86 per cent of the currency notes — of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 value — in circulation to fight black money, corruption and terror financing.

A month on, people continue to struggle due the cashlessness because mints have not been able to print enough bank notes and meet the demand for cash after 500- and 1,000-rupee notes were rendered illegal tenders.

On Thursday, many ATMs in this satellite town near Delhi ran dry and banks continued to refuse withdrawals of Rs 24,000 — the maximum allowed by the government — because they also do not have enough money to distribute among their customers.

There were around 100 customers waiting outside the Axis Bank around 11 a.m., with a separate queue for women, which was equally long.

“I have been standing here since 6:30 a.m. Forty-eight people were already here when I reached,” Amit Kumar, a private employee, told IANS.

Kumar, who works for an electronic wares distributor, said that a man who was ahead of him just left with some cash after “waiting here since 4 a.m.”

“He was the third one to arrive. His turn came just now.”

The three ATMs inside the Axis Bank were not working. Officials and people who have been regularly visiting the bank said the cash dispensers have been like that for at least the last 10 days.

A nearby Kotak Mahindra ATM has never been refilled with cash since the demonetisation was announced, bank officials said.

Most customers were furious with banks setting their own limits for withdrawal and rationing cash to cater to as many as possible customers.

“They are giving only Rs 5,000 maximum. Initially, though, they had given 10,000 to a few, but now only five thousand,” said a Larsen and Toubro (L&T) employee in Sector 16.