New Delhi– People in large numbers queued up outside banks here on Thursday to withdraw cash from their first salary received after the November 8 demonetisation.
Long queues were witnessed outside most banks and functioning ATMs across the capital, residents said.
At Lakshmi Nagar in east Delhi, hundreds queued up outside the only three ATMs that were dispensing cash.
In Dilshad Garden, also in east Delhi, most ATMs were dry. There was a huge rush outside five banks in the locality.
Shiv Kumar, a resident of Noida near Delhi, queued up outside the ICICI Bank in Sector 18 hours before it opened.
“Though the limit on withdrawals is Rs 24,000, banks are giving away only Rs 5,000,” he complained. “I have been standing here for the last three hours.”
At an ATM in Khirki extension in south Delhi, people queued up outside banks much before they opened.
“I have to pay my landlord, maid, newspaper guy and many others. I am not sure I will get cash as this ATM works only for an hour after it is refilled,” said Nandini Gupta, a call centre employee waiting outside a Khirki extension ATM.
The scene was no different outside the ATMs in Connaught Place in the heart of the city.
Chandana Bardia told IANS that she visited Oriental Bank of Commerce branch in Paschim Vihar five times in last one week but was always denied cash.
“They kept saying they had run out of cash. But on my sixth time today (Thursday), I told them I am not returning without cash.
“Although I had two cheques of Rs 24,000 – one in my name and another in my mother-in-law’s – I was told I could only get cash on my behalf and that too Rs 6,000. I accepted as there were others as well who needed cash,” she said.
She added that she got furious when a man came, gave a cheque of Rs 50,000 and got the amount within minutes.
“This is unfair. While I support Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi) move, why should some people face all the hardship while others get their way easy?” she asked.
In Noida Sector 15, most ATMs were dry including a Syndicate bank ATM and a Union Bank ATM.
A Kotak Mahindra bank ATM was seen shut and an RBL bank ATM was not working.
Outside Central Bank of India ATM, the only working ATM in the locality, there was a long queue.
Outside the Union Bank branch in the locality, comparatively shorter queues were seen.
Jay Vardhan, the assistant manager at the bank told IANS that ever since over the counter exchange has been stopped, queues have been shorter as only those who have accounts with the same bank are coming to deposit or withdraw money.
He added that this particular branch gets Rs 25 to 30 lakh per day.
“With this amount, we cannot give away Rs 24,000 as is the limit to every person. If we do that, we will run out of cash in under two hours,” Vardhan told IANS.
The bank is therefore rationing the available cash to cater to maximum customers and giving away only Rs 5,000 to a single person, he said.
“But what is happening is that same people are queuing up every day to withdraw more cash. Had there been enough supply to give Rs 24,000 to each person, they won’t have to come back for more, queues will be shorter and business will run smoother,” he added.
Majid Khan, a chef at a restaurant, was waiting for his turn outside the bank and was upset as the bank was only giving out Rs 5,000 cash.
“I just got my salary and was hoping to withdraw Rs 24,000 but I can only get Rs 5,000. I have to pay bills to many people from whom I have taken things on credit. I also have to pay school fee for my kids. How can I do that in just Rs 5,000?” he asked.
He added that he will have to come and queue up outside the bank on Friday as well to get more cash.
“After getting some cash from here, I might also queue up at an ATM to get some more cash.
“But how long can that happen? Modi ‘ji’ is saying that bear for some time, stop your business for some time and then it will get normal. But if we don’t do business for a month, how will we feed ourselves the next month,” he asked.
However, Khan added that he still supported the overall idea of demonetisation.
“But the government should have made enough preparations to ensure people don’t suffer due to it. They should have printed enough new notes before stopping old ones,” he added.