Cash-starved people storm cashless banks and return empty handed

Hyderabad: Serpentine queues appeared before all the banks throughout Telangana State when they reopened on Tuesday after a three-day holiday.

With fond hope of getting relief after their agonising wait for the past 35 days for the required cash for their day-to-day needs, people from all walks of life made a beeline to the banks and ATMs, but as usual most of them were left with disappointment and despair as the bank authorities throwing their hands up on the plea that adequate cash deposits were not received from the RBI. Within a short time after reopening, the anxious crowds desperately waiting in the queues were greeted with “No Cash” sign boards at the entrance.

Having failed to draw the cash from their accounts, people crowded at the ATMs, which were functioning. However, here too the people after spending hours in the queues were forced to return to banks as the limited cash deposits got exhausted in no time. As a matter of fact, most of the ATMs continued to greet the people with “No Cash” sign boards. After having managed to make good with whatever little cash they had during the three-day bank holiday, people stormed the banks and ATMs with the fond hope of getting some relief only to return empty handed.

For innumerable number of people, especially the working class, it was a real heartburn because they had to apply for leave to stand in line before the banks; still they were not able to get the required cash. Some of them said later that they had been served with show-cause notices for coming late to work.

There is no denial of the fact that normal life of the people had gone haywire after demonetization. Shortage of small notes has only added to the woes of many. Even after laying hands on a Rs 2000 note, many were put to a lot of hardships as neither they were able to procure petty essentials for want of change nor they were able to get change for the 2000 note. It’s like thirsting for drinking water when caught in mid sea. The pensioners, most of them aged and depending on the monthly pensions, were the worst hit. Even after a fortnight, they were not able to draw their pensions while many of them were forced to shuttle from one bank to another to know whether the pensions have been deposited in their accounts or not.

The grave situation prevailing could be assessed from the serious concern expressed by Telangana Finance Minister Etela Rajender that if the Central government and the RBI authorities do not take required steps to come to the rescue of the people for want of cash, there might be even a revolt by the harassed and agitated people.

According to him at least another Rs 5000 crore in small denomination currency is required to ease the situation to some extent. He lamented that while Telangana State’s requirement was to the tune of Rs 20,000 crores, the RBI had so far released only Rs 17,500 crores. What is more, four percent of the money received from the RBI was only in small denomination notes while 96 percent was of Rs 2000 denomination notes. He hoped that as promised by the RBI, the situation would ease within one month. –NSS

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