Misery mounts, country non-functional
Across India on Friday to exchange withdrawn banknotes but chaos ensued for the second straight day with poor cash flow and no signs of immediate relief. If Thursday was nightmarish, Friday was even worse.
But some of the worst hit people are those in smaller towns, villages and daily-wage earners with little access to the formal banking system. Those with marriages scheduled in their families are also aggrieved by the decision that comes smack in the middle of the wedding season.
Jute and tea workers in Bengal who are paid their salaries in cash were left high and dry.
Many people are questioning why the demonetization move was rushed through without adequate planning. “ Despite tall promises that ordinary citizens would not be inconvenienced it seems that banks were not prepared to handle the rush of customers. Senior citizens and poor people are the worst hit,” wondered a retired bureaucrat in Kolkata’s Salt Lake.
Long queues outside banks and ATMs were witnessed on Friday in the Capital as people rushed to exchange their demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes with new ones and withdrew cash which caused hardship to them.
Delhi Police has beefed up security in banks and ATMs in view of the expected rush even as residents fumed over the idea of waiting in long queues on a working day.
However, people at many of the automated teller machines (ATMs) were agitated finding that there is no cash. Bank officials said ATMs have not stocked up yet.
In anticipation of getting cash, people including women and elderly persons had gathered at ATMs in their localities but were upset after finding that it was yet to be stocked up in
“I woke up at 4 am and rushed to the ATM to get cash but found that there was already a crowd who were complaining that there was no cash,” said IP Extension resident, 62-year-old Vimla Devi.
In a tragic incident in Mumbai, a 73-year-old man collapsed and died in a queue before a bank as cash-strapped people in the country’s financial capital and suburbs rushed to the ATM counters today to withdraw some money to meet their daily expenses.
Vishwanath Vartak, who was standing in the queue before an SBI branch for exchanging currency, collapsed and died on the spot at Navghar in Mulund in eastern suburbs, police said.
ATMs of various banks in south Mumbai, Lalbaugh, Parel, Dadar, Andheri, Ghatkopar and Mulund were found to be out of service and not dispensing money, forcing people to return empty-handed.
Two deaths were also reported in Kerala.
An elderly man standing in queue collapsed and died, while another fell to his death while filling forms to deposit over Rs five lakh worth scrapped high denomination notes as banks in Kerala continued to witness huge surge of customers for the second day today to exchange demonetised Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.
Police said 75-year-old Karthikeyan from Kumarapuram in Haripad in Alappuzha district was standing in a queue at a branch of the State Bank of Travancore, when he collapsed and died.
In the other incident, Unni (48), working as an overseer in the Kerala State Electricity Board fell to his death while he was filling the necessary forms to deposit Rs 5.50 lakh he had with him. Initial reports say it was an accident, police said.
Most of the ATMs in West Bengal ran dry within few hours of reopening forcing the people to make a beeline for banks.
Long queues were seen at ATM counters, which reopened this morning after a two-day break following demonetisation of high value currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, but the people were left disappointed as the cash vending machines soon ran out of money.
By afternoon, most ATMs downed their shutters and put up notices announcing that they were left with no cash.
Come Saturday, people can still deposit their cash in bank accounts or exchange it, but any transaction above Rs 2.5 lakh will invite scrutiny.
- Govt extends concessions on utility payments till Nov 14
- No toll on national highways till November 14
- Tea, jute workers not paid salaries in Bengal
- Three deaths reported, one in Mumbai, two in Kerala
- Countrywide I-T raids continue