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Long queues of cash-strapped customers at ATMs in Mumbai

People queue up at ATM

Mumbai : Facing shortage of cash for last two days, people in the country’s financial capital and its suburbs rushed to ATM counters today, witnessing long queues of residents anxious to withdraw some money to meet their daily expenses.

ATMs of various banks in south Mumbai, Lalbaugh, Parel, Dadar, Andheri, Ghatkopar and Mulund were found to be out of service and not dispensing money, forcing people to return empty-handed.

Early in the morning, shutters of some ATMs of State Bank of India, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, HDFC Bank, Bank of Baroda, Yes Bank and Dena Bank in suburban Mulund in Mumbai were down, while some went dry.

Ajeet Singh, a media professional, said when he went to an ATM in suburban Andheri, he found it closed. On enquiring with a bank executive, the latter suggested him to come after an hour or two.

“But when I went to exchange demonetised notes with new ones, I was told that the bank has not received the money yet and it would start exchanging it at 4 PM only,” he said.

After finding some ATMs in the megacity not dispensing cash, Charles Asirvatham, a senior executive of a Malaysia-based company took the twitter route to express his problem.

Sanjay Dubey, an executive working with a garment outlet and staying in Kalyan township of neighbouring Thane district said, “I approached an ATM in suburban Kalyan around 8.30 AM but it was shut. I hope government would take some corrective measures soon.”

Claiming an SBI ATM to be non-functional, Gurudath Naik said he had complained about it to the bank’s chairperson.

Despite the chaos, country’s largest public sector lender SBI said in statement: “29,176 ATMs of State Bank of India (SBI) are up and functioning, rest are expected to be operational by tomorrow.”

The SBI group, which includes associate banks, have an ATM network of 55,000 across the country.

Naresh Kadam, an executive working in a pharmaceutical company, stood in queue at the branch of a new generation bank at 5.30 in the morning. After sometime, a board was placed there saying– ‘ATM out of service due to technical reasons’.

A senior citizen, who came to exchange money at the branch of a public sector bank in suburban Vikhroli, said, “We thought of having some relief as banks were all set to open their ATMs today morning. But see what’s happening here. Even bank officials do not bother to make separate arrangements for the senior citizens. Who will listen to us.”

From today onwards, customers are allowed to withdraw up to Rs 2,000 per day from ATMs till November 18. The withdrawal limit will be raised to Rs 4,000 per day per card from November 19.

In the last two days when ATMs were out of service, the banks said they will re-configure their ATMs to dispense Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes.

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