While the government has been saying that things are under control in metros when it comes to availability of cash, rural areas still need to be served. What does the regional press
say when it comes to the ground situation in the states? Here is a snapshot:
In Punjab, Dainik Bhaskar has a report about the first big fake new currency case. In the case from Mohali, two cousins charged a 30 per cent commission to convert black money to white and distributed fake Rs 2,000 notes to their ‘clients’. They bought a second-hand Audi using the same fake currency and put a red light on top of it to use it as their delivery vehicle.
Meanwhile, salaried class is bearing the brunt of demonetisation
in the state as the salaries have been credited and banks
are out of cash to dispense. Banks
have refused to allow withdrawals of Rs 10,000 as they don’t have the cash. 70 per cent ATMs
have not been recalibrated yet and they are not working. Bankers in the state say things are unlikely to improve till December 5. The problem has been compounded by the fact that 90 per cent of the new currency in banks
is in the form of Rs 2,000 notes.
In Punjab’s agricultural mandis, farmers, traders and labourers continue to wait for payments to be made. Districts continue to be cashless and coverage has been focused on the plight of those standing in queues.
In MP, the situation is similar to that in Punjab with banks
running out of cash and the pressure of payday looming. The problem has become bigger for banks
in Bhopal because most of the cash they have received is in the form of Rs 2,000 notes. In a place like Rajgarh, cash arrived after one week and that too in the form of Rs 2,000 notes and the report talks about people struggling to buy items of daily use. In Indore, banks
have received only one third of what they need to dispense on payday.
In Haryana’s Ambala, police had to be called to a bank as the crowds protested. As per reports the state government is concerned about the large crowds outside banks
as cash crunch
continues to be an issue in the state. In Gurgaon, angry villagers blocked Delhi-Gurgaon-Alwar highway as patience ran out after weeks of cash crunch. Similar scenes in Rohtak city as angry crowds blocked roads at two places. About 10 per cent of the ATMs
in the city were dispensing cash.
In UP, Meerut saw violence as a result of the continued cash crunch. Syndicate Bank employees were taken as hostage. There was stone-pelting and the PM’s effigy was also burnt as anger boiled over. Violence and traffic jams were also reported from other places in Meerut. Papers also report about hundreds of handloom units having shut down due to the shortage of cash. Jams and protests due to cash crunch
seem to be the general sentiment across UP with reports from Agra, Allahabad and Kanpur saying the same. Jagran reports that cash has almost run out of 900 rural branches in Agra.
In Rajasthan, Patrika reports that banks
have been getting only 35-40 per cent of the cash that they actually need from RBI. Its local editions narrate similar incidents of the general public losing patience due to the continued scarcity of cash at banks
In Maharashtra, Saamana Hindi talks about a new code word for conversion of old currency notes into new ones in the black money market. Traders now use the phrase “Give Gandhi and Get Modi” where ‘Gandhi’ refers to old currency notes and ‘Modi’ refers to new currency notes. It also reports that even after 22 days have passed, there has been no improvement in the ground situation with long queues outside bank and most ATMs
failing to dispense cash. Saamana in Marathi talks about the harassment the salaried class is having to face with payday here and little cash in banks.
Lok Satta also paints a grim picture of the cash situation in Maharashtra with ATMs
running low on cash. Lokmat echoes this sentiment by saying there is practically no cash in banks.
In Satara’s Maan taluka the CEO of a local co-operative bank has complained about the dire situation thanks to cash crunch. Most of the people dependant on her bank are self-help groups, women’s groups, NGOs and they have not been able to help them. They converted their own van into a cash dispensing machine. They distributed coins worth Rs 12 lakh in a market.
In Karnataka, Vijaya Karnataka reports on a lathicharge by police on a crowd gathered outside an ATM in Gulbarga and also reports that no cash is reaching rural Karnataka. Vijayavani reports that 80 per cent of the ATMs
are not functioning.
Stories from all over India, bear a resemblance. They talk about long queues outside banks, non-functional ATMs
and a changing public mood
as the ground situation has not come under control 22 days after the announcement to ban old currency notes of Rs 500
and Rs 1,000 was done.