Short queues, sparse crowds at banks, ATMs on last day

short-queuesNew Delhi, (IANS) Queues were short and crowds thin here on Friday, the 50th day of demonetisation — the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s self-imposed deadline for normalisation of situation kicked in.

The scenario was more comforting than earlier, with queues outside the banks and at ATM kiosks reduced by a considerable margin in comparison to what those were even a week back.

The usual ‘serpentine’ queue outside the ICICI Bank ATM in Connaught Place ‘A’ Block was morphed into a straight line, with not more than 20 persons awaiting their turn. Earlier, many more note seekers lined up here.

Likewise, only a handful of people were seen waiting outside the Punjab National Bank ATM in the same block. Both ATMs, however, dispensed only 2,000-rupee notes.

Although ATMs at last seemed to hold some cash, the opinion inside the banks was mixed.

“Nothing much has changed as yet. We are still getting a reduced amount from the RBI (Reserve Bank of India), so we are still not giving more than Rs 10,000 to customers,” a PNB official told IANS, declining to be named.

However, the Manager at Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) said that the situation is pretty smooth and that worst days are now behind us.

“You take a round of the block, you won’t see many queues. Even though our ATM is filled with cash, I don’t see a long queue before it,” Mousami Mukherjee, Manager of the Connaught Place branch of the Overseas Bank of Commerce (OBC), told IANS.

The OBC ATM, however, did not give out any options for withdrawal of cash — when people tried it for cash, its screen only offered ‘statement’, ‘balance inquiry’ and ‘pin change’ to the customers.

In the capital’s suburban Noida, the situation wasn’t all that good — a string of ATMs were non-functional and the rest had mostly long queues.

Out of about 20 ATMs on a two-km stretch from Noida Sector 15 to Noida Sector 18, only two machines had any cash.

Three ATMs of ICICI Bank, three of HDFC Bank and two of Induslnd Bank were shut.

A Kotak Mahindra Bank ATM was functional in Noida Sector 15, where people stood in a long queue awaiting their turn to withdraw cash even on the 50th day of the scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

The ATMs of Axis Bank, Syndicate Bank and RBL Bank were also non-functional.

Friday was also the last day for the deposit of old, scrapped currency notes and their exchange with new ones. After Friday, people can deposit old notes only at the RBI offices, until March 31.

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