Closed banks, dry ATMs render residents cashless on weekend
Cash crunch continued to cripple daily life on the third consecutive Sunday post demonetisation. The situation worsened as banks were closed a day ago because of fourth Saturday. Besides, most of the ATMs are still non-functional.
Residents were seen roaming haplessly around the city in search of a machine, vending out ‘cash’. Their woes multiplied as banks were closed and ATMs had run dry.
In many areas, people, in desperate need of money ran from one ATM to another, with a few emerging ‘successful’ in withdrawing cash and the remaining leaving dejected as machines emptied out before their turn.
In most areas, serpentine queues was seen soon after people learnt that cash was being dispensed at a particular ATM.
Most of the ATMs emptied on Friday night itself due to the closure of banks during the weekend. On Saturday morning, people were seen queued up outside some ATMs, but they, too, ran out of cash in minutes.
“Though there is no cash in machines, many refuse to return to their homes, hoping that the ATMs would be refilled. But it appears that nothing as such is going to happen this weekend,” said a guard deployed outside an ATM booth in the Paharganj area, which witneses a huge tourist inflow.
He added that most booths in the area were not refilled since the demonetisation of high-value currency notes was announced.
Residents had a harrowing time on Sunday as hardly any ATM was dispensing cash. A large number of people, including senior citizens and women, were seen standing in long queues outside ATM booths to get cash so that they can meet their daily requirements.
In some areas, people were agitated due to the lack of information and infrastructure preparedness needed to ensure smooth cash withdrawal, especially when banks are closed, technical problems and server-related issues dueing the weekend.
There were also reports of heated exchanges outside several ATM booths.
Besides, the cash crisis adversely affected trade and business across markets in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The trading community reeled under severe losses due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and many traders do not have change to give in place of the annulled notes. With no hope of improvement in the situation, the evening hours were reportedly worse.
“Since banks and ATMs are closed, we have been witnessing a ‘bandh’-like situation. Though we have regularly been opening our shops, it seems that life has come to a grinding halt post demonetisation. Hardly any customer is visiting our shops, despite the marriage season,” said a PK Gupta, a shopkeeper from Chandni chowk area.