Millennium Post

As banks reopen after 3 days, more rush expected at banks, ATMs

In normal times, holidays are enjoyed and relished. But in view of the cash crunch, a day-off means bigger queues at ATMs. So, more rush is expected on Tuesday when the banks reopen after 3 days.

Millennium Post surveyed one of the busiest markets Khari Bawli in the walled city and found most of the ATMs with no cash or their shutters down.

The ICICI Bank ATM is located just a few meters from Fathepuri Mosque and a grey hair man, Vinod Kumar, who sells socks in front of the ATM, says, “It has been dry for last 12 days. No cash has been put into it in a long time.” Enjoying the ATM space without a customer, he sits on a small stool outside to avoid the sun.

Ask for another ATM and people would guide you to a small lane which houses a Punjab National Bank ATM. No queues or rush is enough evidence that it’s running out of cash. The tea-seller Anjum next to the ATM clarifies, “This ATM was refilled only once since demonetisation. I haven’t seen it with cash or queues since then.”

The Kotak Mahindra bank has its shutters half down and lots of trash papers on the floor. “It was refilled 2 or 3 times. Today  (Monday) too it has no cash,” tells a shopkeeper who runs a garment shop across the road.

Moving down the lane towards Naya Bazaar, there are two ATMs — ICICI and HDFC — but both were without cash. “We had to close our shops the day it had cash. The swelling queues were too large to manage. Thankfully, we can run our business if it has no cash,” tells a rice merchant who has a wholesale shop just adjacent to the two ATMs.

The traders are annoyed too since they haven’t been provided with card swipe machines despite making applications. “I have applied for the swipe machine on November 25 but the banks keep telling me to wait. They fail to give us a definite date for it. The ATMs are running out of cash and we aren’t able to accept debit cards. It’s a tough situation,” says Praveen, a spice shop merchant in Khari Bawli.
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