Long queues. That was the order of the day across Delhi-NCR on the morning of November 10. People lined up outside banks to exchange and deposit their Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. But thanks to the rush, many had to wait for hours to get any work done. Security guards and police personnel were also present at the venues to manage the crowd.
Here's what different areas of Delhi-NCR looked like today:
A constable assists visitors and helps manage the crowd at Axis Bank in Sector 5 PHOTO: Akhilesh Pandey
While arrangements worked systematically in Dwarka, residents complained about the long waiting period. Bank officials were also tense, as they had to handle huge crowds, with help from security guards and police personnel.
SK Singh, a resident of Sector 10 who deposited money at Bank of India in Sector 12, said, “I got my chance to deposit money after three and a half hours. It really got to me after a while; I don't think I will forget the experience in my life.”
Many residents, such as those in sectors 5, 10, 11 and 12, grew anxious as they waited in never-ending queues.
At ICICI Bank in Sector 5, most of those standing in queue were youngsters, with exchange forms in their hands. However, much to their disappointment, the bank put up a notice around 12.30 pm that they had run out of cash. Vipin Das, a resident of Sector 10, said, “They put up a notice that exchange would not be possible, as they had run out of cash. There were six counters in the morning, but by afternoon, only three were operating.”
SBI at Sector 10, which is on the first floor, saw a queue that extended out of the bank and up to the building's main staircase. According to a staff member, however, despite the rush, the process worked systematically, with separate queues for women and senior citizens.
People wait in a queue outside ICICI Bank in Sector 18 PHOTO: Samrat Roy
Things seemed a little less organised in Noida. A few residents weren't aware of the exchange process, which led to a lot of inconvenience.
Sangeeta Pathak, a resident of Sector 30, said, “The banks were asking for a photocopy of the ID proof, but most of us didn’t have one. So amid all the queuing up and waiting, we also had to rush to photocopy shops. It was hassling, to say the least.”
Salendra Baranwal, a resident of Supertech Capetown in Sector 74, said, “The long queues really got my goat. Oriental Bank of Commerce in Sector 44 allowed only thousand rupees to be exchanged, as they had run out of the new 2,000-rupee notes.”
Similarly, IDFC Bank in Sector 18 could not offer exchange of more than Rs 500 for every customer. "I have a corporate account with them, but that didn't help my case," said Puja Raina Mahaldar, whose office is in Sector 2. "Even for Rs 500 we were being asked to fill out a form and get our ID proof photocopied. I'll just deposit my cash in one go with them some other time — exchanging is too much of a hassle."
Rishabh Singh, a resident of Amarapali Sapphire in Sector 45, said that although he had received the 2,000-rupee note, he was unable to use it, as shopkeepers didn’t have change for the amount. “There was no separate line for women and the elderly. It got very difficult for them to get the money exchanged.”
Vikas Tulli, an RWA member of Eldeco Utopia in Sector 93A, told City Spidey that he had queued up at HDFC Bank in Sector 93 at 9.30 am sharp. “Initially, the bank didn't even have the new notes — these arrived only after a few hours. I waited for three hours straight and then got so tired that I went back home. All this waiting for nothing!" he said.
Residents at a Bank of Baroda branch in Civil Lines PHOTO: Anil Manchanda
According to some residents, it was a similar state of affairs in Gurugram.
Gunjan Kochar, a resident of Haryana Apartments in Sector 10A, visited ICICI Bank around 8:30 am but managed to Rs 4,000 exchanged only after three and a half hours. She was upset that the bank did not have a separate queue for women and the elderly.
HB Chawla, who stays in Aabhas Apartment in Sector 56, said, “This currency demonetisation couldn't have come at a worse time. There is a wedding in my family and I am having to run from pillar to post to arrange the money. I went to the bank today to operate my locker, but the bank manager told me to come after 2 pm, as he was busy.”
Even NRIs had a tough time. Anoopama Khanna, a resident of Uniworld Gardens in Sector 47, said, “I have dollars with me, and I need cash. I was treated like any other customer at the bank. Being an NRI customer, I was promised special services but I just came back feeling embarrassed. It took me more than four hours to get the money.”
Disgruntled residents queue up in front of the Niti Khand branch in Indirapuram
Indirapuram residents complained of heavy rush at the banks, with more than a hundred people in queues at a time. Most banks ran out of cash by afternoon and were only accepting deposits after that.
Ravindra Saini, a resident of Jaipuria Sunrise Greens in Ahinsa Khand I, said, “The Punjab and Sind Bank at Jaipuria Plaza did not issue any cash today, but accepted deposits.”
Amardeep Viz, a resident of Aditya Mega City, told City Spidey that since he owned a factory, he needed to pay workers. “When I reached IDBI Bank in Vaibhav Khand at 3:30 pm, I found they had run out of cash because of the rush.”
He said that he couldn’t make his routine deposits either. “Most banks in the area had the same queues for deposit, withdrawal and exchange. They should have had separate queues for different types of transactions,” he added.