Queues persist outside banks, ATMs on 12th day; one dead

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) A 49-year-old vegetable vendor died on Monday afternoon while waiting for his turn to deposit money as long queues persisted outside bank branches for the 12th day since the banks reopened after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The vegetable vendor Shatish Sharma died while standing in the queue outside the Oriental Bank of Commerce branch in west Delhi’s Najafgarh area to deposit Rs 50,000 in demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes.

People, like other days, were seen struggling in serpentine queues to withdraw cash from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and trying to deposit or exchange the spiked high-value currency notes in banks across Delhi.

Some expressed frustration and disappointment over the long wait while a few of them said they have become habitual. And many were angry because their previous attempts had failed as many ATMs were non-functional, including one at Connaught Place — the heart of Delhi.

Several ATMs displayed boards of “No cash” and “Out of cash” on them since morning. Even in the evening, anxious people were seen visiting ATMs to check whether cash was available.

More than 500 people were standing outside different ATMs and a Post Office in Connaught Place, 60-80 people in each queue at a time.

“I am trying for two consecutive days but failed to withdraw money from any ATM in Connaught Place. Whenever, I reach outside any of these ATMs, I have to stand behind 60-70 people every time. I don’t know when this situation will be sorted out by the government,” Vibhav Bist told IANS.

Anju Malhotra said “she has become habitual of standing in queue”.

Resident of Paschim Vihar in West Delhi, Vasdev Arora told IANS: “It’s really a bad decision of the government to demonetise 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. Common people are being harassed. These leaders and businessmen don’t stand in queues, then how will they understand our pain.”

Similar sentiment was echoed by another youth Pushpak Tiwari, who was standing outside the Bank of India branch in Malviya Nagar.

“I am not against the decision but the implementation is really bad. Government did not plan properly for it,” he said.

At least 40-50 people were waiting restlessly while many were holed up inside some bank offices in Noida Sector 16 in Uttar Pradesh.

“I came to the bank for the first time since the note-ban and it has already been half an hour that I am waiting,” said a Financial Advisor with Genpact standing at the far end of the queue outside Axis Bank.

He hoped to get some cash in hand before the bank closed their business for the day. He had specially taken a day’s leave from office to be at the bank.

Another man trading in foreign exchange, standing outside the same bank, said that “although the wait is same as it was on day one, I think it’s a good move overall”.

“Earlier, we used to exchange rupees worth 50,000 into dollars, and there used to be lot of customers,” he said.

“However, now we have started asking for proper documents for the smallest of such transactions, and the number has dwindled. Black money holders are affected by this demonetisation move,” he said.

–IANS

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