Mumbai is no different from other towns and cities in India when it comes to facing a severe cash crunch, with most of the banks struggling to meet people's requirement of notes. This is even as a significant number of ATMs have remained in operation since PM Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation exercise on 8 November.
All ATMs of cooperative banks, including the multi-state ones have not been functioning for the last 10 days. Of the remaining ATMs run by private and government banks, only half are working, according to a senior official from the finance department.
In the last 10 days, people have been spotted in long queues in front of banks from two to six hours a day.
According to an Additional Chief Secretary of the Mantralaya, there are 3,900 ATMs and 2,100 of banks, including cooperative, government, private and foreign banks in Mumbai, of which 40 percent of the banks belong to multi-state cooperative scheduled banks and District Central Cooperative (DCC) banks. All scheduled bank and DCC bank ATMs have been forced to close since 8 November's demonetisation move. The remaining 60 percent of ATMs belong to private, national and foreign banks, he added, on the condition of anonymity.
Firstpost has checked ATMs in Mumbai and found that those belonging to multi-state scheduled banks, including The Saraswat Co-operative Bank Ltd, Abhyudaya Co-operative Bank Ltd , TJSB Sahakari Bank Ltd, Janta Sahkari Bank Ltd, Cosmos Bank, Apna Sahkari Bank, Shamrao Vithal Cooperative Scheduled Bank, Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank, Janakalyan Sahakari Bank Ltd, Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd, Jaoli Sahakari Bank Ltd, The Greater Bombay Co-operative Bank Ltd and many others have been closed.
Talking to Firstpost, Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative Bank's (PMC) Manager Madhavi Gholkar confirmed that all the ATMs across Mumbai have been closed due to the inadequate supply of currency notes. "We have 122 branches in Maharashtra. Andheri is old branch of PMC and more than 50,000 customers are with us. But till yesterday, hardly 20 percent of customers withdrew money as per RBI guidelines," she said.
Saraswat Bank has also been sending text messages to customers saying, "There is an inadequate supply of currency notes. Hence we may not be able to allow withdrawals in part or full, depending on the availability of cash at a particular branch. The situation is likely to improve soon. We request your kind co-operation."
The chairman of the Mumbai District Central Co-operative Bank Pravin Darekar told Firstpost that they have more than 20 ATMs in the city but in the last 10 days all hold insufficient amounts of money. "So we closed them to avoid facing customers' anger." Darekar also mentioned that they will file a PIL against the ban that DCC banks cannot accept old currency notes.
"The DCC Banks in Maharashtra are in a bad situation when RBI decided not to accept Rs 500 and 1,000 notes after demonetisation. There are 31 districts banks with 4,500 branches all over the state. Rs 65,000 crore money was deposited and Rs 45,000 crore worth of loan money given to customers," added Darekar. "In the first three days, DCC banks received Rs 3,000 crore worth old currency notes in denominations of 500 and 1,000. So we have serious questions about this amount," he said.
Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said that they require 2300 crore worth of currency notes to fulfill the country's demand. But right now only Indian government mint can only produce 300 crore pieces of currency notes a month. This means the serious crunch of currency notes in the country will take next seven months minimum, Nirupam said. "From Sunday onwards, we will tell people that demonetisation is fraud and implemented without preparation," he claimed.