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Demonetisation: Longer queues to get cash on bank holiday

People queue up at ATM

    
Mumbai : Queues outside ATMs increased today as banks remained shut on account of Guru Nanak Jayanti even as several cash vending machines across the city ran dry of currency, compounding woes of the common man.

Getting cash-strapped with each passing day, people did not seem impressed with the government’s last night decision to increase the weekly and daily withdrawal limit from banks and ATMs.

“This is becoming unbearable now. How long can we afford to be in the queue to get money which we toiled to earn. My family is on the verge of starvation,” said Damodar Kamble, who tried his luck to exchange money this morning at an ATM in suburban Vikhroli.

Many customers made it to ATMs as early as 5 AM in anticipation of procuring a few precious Rs 100 notes. There were also reports that many ATMs in south Mumbai localities like Lalbaugh, Parel, Dadar ran out of cash.

Similar instances were reported from suburbs like Andheri, Ghatkopar and Mulund, forcing people to return home empty-handed.

The nation was taken for a surprise last week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that higher denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will be discontinued, forcing people to rush to banks and ATMs for Rs 100 notes.

A housewife in Kurla, Shweta, said, “This has become a horror. It’s sad…people are dying, fighting while waiting in queues.”

“Now, full form of ATM should be temporarily changed to ‘Aayega to milega’,” she said in a lighter vein.

Meanwhile, private hospitals in the city, in wake of the fresh notification issued yesterday on the use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bills till November 24, were today in a dilemma whether they should accept the scrapped currencies as there was no clarity on the issue.

Management of private hospitals, raising concern, termed the notification as “confusing.”

Rajiv Singal, member of a trust that runs few hospitals in suburban Dahisar, said, “Private hospitals and patients are the most hit people due to demonetisation as government has failed to come up with clear-cut guidelines. Even the notification, released yesterday, is not clear on whether private hospitals should accept old notes or not.”

“The notification is silent on use of demonetised notes for private hospitals as it read, hospitals, pharmacy, chemist shops would be able to accept the notes till November 24,” he said.

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