Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked up a storm by invalidating denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, the dust has still not settled. In fact, the rush on Day 2 was more. Thanks to banks’ decision to let customers withdraw up to Rs 10,000 in self-drawn cheques. Exchanges were capped at Rs 4,000.
Customers across the NCR complained that they had to stand in line for more than two hours just to enter the bank, and then inside for at least 45 more minutes to finally lay their hands on cash.
Virender Chaudhry, who lives in Sector 22, Noida, exhausted rounds of all ATMs nearby before he finally saw some hope of getting some cash from Union Bank in Sector 15, Noida. When City Spidey spoke to him around 3.30 pm, he said he was already waiting in line for two hours to get his eight 500-rupee notes exchanged. “All the ATMs near my place had run dry. I’ve been waiting here for a long time but I’m not sure when, or even if, I’ll get some cash from this bank. I’m having to run from pillar to post to get 100-rupee notes to keep my kitchen running,” he said, exasperated.
Many others waiting with him also complained of the same issue.
Sources at Yes Bank in Sector 18, Noida, said that most of their ATMs had run out of cash, despite dispensing only Rs 2,000 per account per day. Officials of HDFC Bank of the area echoed the same thing and said they would have to refill their ATMs soon.
Customers, on their part, were angry that the banks had not prepared for the rush and were taking too long for exchanges. IDFC Bank in Sector 18, Noida, said the delay was mainly due to multiple services at the same time. “We are having to take requests for deposits, withdrawals and exchanges all at the same time. The crowd is too much and manpower not enough," said a bank employee.
However, security guards, especially those posted outside bank gates, seemed more hassled than anyone else. The man posted outside Andhra Bank in Sector 18 said that apart from the delays, the unavailability of cash at ATMs was making people angrier. "It becomes very difficult when men, women and the elderly all get angry at the same time," he said. “I’m having a tough time managing the crowds.”
Most management staff at the banks believe the situation is going to last another two or three days — at least the weekend — before demand and supply of currency normalises.