"ATMs out of cash, server down in others. I'm in deep trouble now"
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"ATMs out of cash, server down in others. I'm in deep trouble now"

Responding to PM Modi's declaration of scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from November 8 midnight, panicked residents rushed to ATMs to collect lower-value cash or deposit the soon-to-be defunct currencies into their accounts.

Crowds swell outside an SBI ATM

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from November 8 midnight, people from Delhi-NCR were drawn into a vortex of panic and confusion last evening. Furthermore, the fact that ATMs would remain closed for the next two days added to the bedlam.      

Huge crowds had gathered outside the ATMs of different markets across the sub-city of Dwarka. At Sector 12, in front of the ATMs of Kotak Mahindra Bank and City Bank, long queues could be seen. People were either trying to withdraw 100-rupee notes or deposit the soon-to-be demonetised currencies into their accounts

Neelesh Patel, a resident of Sector 12, said, “I didn't have any money with me, so I had come to collect cash from the Kotak Mahindra ATM. I wasn't aware of the declaration, but after reaching the place around 9.30 pm, I saw a long queue. Now they are saying the ATMs are out of cash. I am in deep trouble now.” 

The scene was the same at the adjacent City Bank ATM. People had come to deposit the defunct notes into their own accounts, but the ATM had stopped working, causing people to panic even more. RK Singh, a resident of Sector 4, said, “The PM's decision is positive, but there should have been some prior arrangement for the people.”

Besides the ATMs, a few companies shut down their kiosks as well. At Sector 12, a Vodafone kiosk, where people paid their bills, had stopped working. When City Spidey inquired, the guard said the kiosk had stopped working since 8 pm. Manpreet Singh, a resident of Sector 13, had come to the kiosk to pay his bill in 500-rupee notes. Venting his frustration, he said, "I thought I would pay my bill, as these notes would be acceptable till midnight, but they shut down the kiosk deliberately."

The Vodafone kiosk at Sector 12  

The scene was pretty much the same across the NCR. A cash deposit machine of Punjab National Bank at Pandav Nagar in East Delhi had stopped accepting cash after 10.30 pm. A security guard deployed there said "server down". A woman who had come to deposit Rs 20,000 said, "After I heard the news, I came to deposit the amount in the bank. But it seems like I can't."

As soon as the news spread, small shops downed their shutters well before closing time. Even several medical shops closed down -- except a few in hospitals. Street vendors left within an hour of the announcement. Some vendors gave things on credit to their known customers. Babu Lal, who sells bananas, said, “I gave my customer whatever she needed on credit."

Many vendors said they would do the same.