People had a harrowing time on the first day of the month after many failed to withdraw the required amount of money from banks and ATMs in the city.
As predicted by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, people were deprived of their right to withdraw their hard-earned money, despite spending four to five hours in queues outside banks.
Though 23 days have passed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the situation is getting worse instead of improving.
People require a large amount of cash at the beginning of a month to handle their family expenses. Hoping that they would be able to withdraw at least Rs 24,000 from their bank accounts, hundreds stood in queues outside banks since morning. Unfortunately, many had to return with only half of the amount they needed to withdraw.
The salaries of state government employees were transferred to their bank accounts two days ago and on Wednesday they started withdrawing money to manage their expenses. A state government employee at Nabanna said: “I had to stand in a queue outside an ATM in Nabanna to withdraw money, but managed to withdraw only Rs 2,000. The situation in Nabanna turned worse, with one ATM remaining without cash for long hours.”
The condition of state government employees was the same throughout Bengal. They were forced to spend long hours to withdraw money and leave their office work. In protest of the harassment caused to the people, Paschimbanga Rajya Sarkari Karmachari Federation staged an agitation outside the Kolkata office of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.
They also submitted a memorandum to RBI authorities demanding that there should be no limit for withdrawal of cash from salary accounts and pension accounts.
Sources said that the top brass of the state government held a meeting with RBI officials in Nabanna to take stock of the situation and to know how many days would be needed to increase the flow of money in the state.
Banerjee on Thursday again pointed out that people had to stand in queues, pushing aside all their important work. Without explicitly naming the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, she said that the Centre is sending more money to the states where they have their government.
Bhabotosh Hazra, a septuagenarian, said his son who lives abroad and had sent money to his father’s account at the end of November. “It would not be possible for me to run the family if I do not get at least Rs 10,000 today. I cannot give salary to the domestic help. At the same time, I cannot buy medicine for me and my bedridden wife,” Hazra said. He added that initially everyone thought that the Centre’s decision was good for the people. However, now the situation is becoming intolerable and bank officials hardly bother to give any additional facility to the aged.