With shortage of cash, no respite for those queuing outside ATM’s

Lucknow, Nov 16 (IANS) No respite seemed to be in sight for thousands of people queuing outside banks and ATMs in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, the seventh consecutive day after demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes, as cash arrival was not “up to the optimum”, officials said.

The crisis in some parts of the state, including the state capital Lucknow, deepened on Wednesday with bank officials telling the account holders that it might “be a little more time that expected” before the ATMs are adequately recalibrate with the new currency notes and start dispensing cash.

The new rule of marking indelible ink on fingers to deter people from returning for cash exchange has also led to crisis as confusion over the issue prevailed.

While some are angry that they are being “treated as thieves for their own money”, some said this would lead to further inconvenience.

“The government is pushing us from one crisis to another,” said Kavita Gupta, a housewife, who has to send money to her ailing mother in a village.

“Our hard earned money has just gone beyond our reach,” she rued while slamming the manner in which demonetisation was rolled out on November 8 night.

Abhilasha, another housewife in Gokhale Marg area of Lucknow, said her “household budget has gone for a six” since last Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of old currency notes of 500 and 1000.

“No body, right from the vegetable vendor to the gas walla and even the grocery stores are taking old notes and we don’t have smaller denomination notes,” she cribbed.

Vikram Ahuja, an aged retired state government officer, however, seemed okay with the change and said small sacrifices were to be made for the goodness of people.

“There is problem but we should bear it in the larger interest of our economy,” the septuagenarian told his group in a chat following his daily morning walk at the Lohia park in posh Gomtinagar.

Bank officials are equally strained due to the daunting task ahead of themselves.

Kavya, a banker with the HDFC bank, told IANS that they were neither averse to the decision of demonetisation, nor to working overtime, but the cash crunch was a big worry.

“An ATM can only hold up to Rs 2.5 lakh in 100 rupee denomination and with these machines not recalibrated to dispense the new Rs 2000 notes, the queues outside the ATMs are getting longer,” she said.

The money at the ATMs is also dwindling fast as most of the people are taking out Rs 2,500 — the limit fixed per transaction — leaving many high and dry owing to shortage of currency notes.

Abhishek Singh, who said he was okay with the demonetisation move, however, said that with large crowds thronging banks, routine banking was suffering.

“I went twice to my bank in the last two days for routine deposits from my business but long queues and over busy bankers forced me to beat a hasty retreat,” he said.

A bank official at an Axis Bank branch at Munshi Puliya admitted of “big time problems” but said that like others, they too hoped that things will improve soon.