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Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: ATMs shut; banks fail to keep promise, anger customers across India

"I had to borrow money from my dad to come to work. It is an inconvenience," said 24-year-old Sumeet Malhotra, an office-goer. Malhotra visited the SBI ATM at Nariman Point in Mumbai, which was not operational. So he went to the next ATM which was of Bank of Baroda and found it shut.

"When the government announced the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, I was happy as I felt it would weed out black money from the system. I thought it was a brilliant move by PM Modi. But now I have doubts," he said pointing out to newspaper reports of an 8-year-old who died due to the delay in getting medicines from the pharmacy as her father could not get petrol as the petrol pump refused to take Rs 1,000 note he had.

 Rs 500, Rs 1,000 ban: ATMs shut; banks fail to keep promise, anger customers across India

Representational image. Reuters

Rohit Kulkarni, an executive in an IT firm, wanted to check out if the ATMs were giving money as was announced by the banks. Kulkarni checked out two ATMs in his vicinity in Juhu. "I went to Indus Ind and Yes Bank ATMs in Juhu and also in Parel. Some of them were shut and had a board outside stating that the 'ATM is closed' and the ones that were opened did not have cash. I requested for amounts below Rs 2,000 and yet the ATMs did not have the cash," he said.

Kulkarni said that he was not in need of money but was 'checking out' to see if the ATMs had the money to dispense as banks had promised that ATMs would be functional from today in media reports and repeated text messages to its account holders.

Most people had similar experiences to share. "It is the middle class who are being affected," said Rupa Vikram, an office-goer who was moving from one ATM to the other only to be met with boards that said it was shut and finding no cash in the ATMs that were open. "I am unable to go to work as I have two Rs 500 notes which are useless now. I have called my office to say I would be late as I am at an ATM. But I don't think I will be able to attend office today at all," she said.

Twitter is replete with people who are sharing their angst at not being able to access money from ATMs.

Prasanna Jayaprakash who works in Marine Lines went to the Dena Bank ATM at New Marine Lines early before going to office. "I reached the ATM around 8.45 AM and found three to four people standing in queue. However, the ATM was shut. I had some money in hand and so decided to go to office as there was no information when the ATM would be open," she said. She lauds the PM's move to ban the currencies and hopes black money will be flushed out. "But now the ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has become a common man's problem. I hope the government is able to address this situation soon," she said.

Aidan R, a 42-year-old who works in Ballard Estate, was leaving for work from Andheri and visited an ATM as he had exhausted whatever money he had. "I went to the Axis Bank yesterday and got a Rs 2,000 note as the smaller denomination notes were over. So I decided to go to an ATM to withdraw cash. But I found the ATMs were shut. What is this government doing? What is PM Modi doing? I thought this government would be more sympathetic to people like me. We are the ones who are affected and not the black money hoarders," he said. According to him, the black money hoarders are still moving around in their private vehicles and are able to use digital money to get by. "I am disappointed," he said.

The public has no choice but to believe in the government, said a financial analyst. "When the government and the banks have said that the ATMs will be open and functional today, I am sure it will be. However, our banking system is not geared to fulfill demands in huge proportions like it is happening now with almost every consumer going to banks to withdraw money. Also, there is the security aspect to it. It is not an easy job to remove banned currency notes and replenish them in ATMs and cater to such huge demand as can be seen across the country. People will have to be patient. There is no other way out," he said.

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Updated Date: Nov 11, 2016 13:11:37 IST

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