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Queues refuse to lessen even after 37 days of note ban

Delhiites found no respite from the serpentine queues that were seen across the Capital even on the 37th day of demonetisation with bank customers continuing to line up outside several bank branches and ATMs, as banks faced the uphill task of meeting the huge demand for cash, on Thursday. Bobby Arora, a resident of Radheypuri said: “I have my account in Punjab National Bank but everyday the bank is running out of cash within two hours of opening”.

Pradeep Bhanot, who runs a tiles shop in Jagatpuri area of East Delhi, said that he too was unable to make a single transaction from the bank or ATM kiosks in the last 10 days. “It’s December 15 now, and I need to pay my workers here,” he said, adding: “Each and everyone in my staff don’t have bank accounts. So I am facing a problem.”

Lashing out at the government, he said: “Most of the staff at my shop are illiterate and expecting e-banking from them is a cruel joke.” Hundreds of people were also seen waiting outside ATMs in South Delhi’s Kalkaji area early on Thursday morning to get some cash from HDFC and State Bank of Patiala branches, which were dispensing cash. Expressing anger over the government’s demonetisation move, Rahul Sharma, who runs a bike repairing shop in Govindpuri, termed the move a “cruel joke”.

Being the commercial hub of the city, Connaught Place has been seeing an unprecedented rush at all its ATMs, with those dispensing cash witnessing long queues. The ICICI Bank’s branch in ‘A’ Block of Connaught Place could be seen catering to 70-80 customers in the early afternoon. An equal number of people queued up outside the adjoining ATM of the same bank.

The banks had also put out a notice saying that a customer can withdraw a maximum Rs 10,000 due to cash shortage, whereas, the government has allowed a maximum of Rs 24,000 withdrawal a week. 

A bank official on the condition of anonymity said: “The RBI had failed to provide cash to the banks. Otherwise, why would banks make people suffer? We have limited cash. If we give Rs 24,000 to every person, we will soon run dry, the people will get agitated and we will have to face the brunt.”
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