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Customers 'harassed' as banks, ATMs go dry on payday

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

customers faced harassment and inconvenience at various places in Punjab, and while withdrawing on payday even as banks claimed that they put adequate measures in place to deal with the heavy rush.

From youngsters to elders stood in serpentine queues outside branches and ATMs for hours in order to withdraw with banks facing tough time to deal with angry customers who were denied money.

Several branches saw "shortage" of at their disposal and some branches went dry within an hour or so of receiving fresh lot of money for disbursement from RBI, officials said.

"Banks are facing massive shortage of cash and people are fighting with bank staff when they do not get money," said an official of State Bank of Patiala.

"What could we do when we do not have sufficient cash," asked official while justifying the position of banks on being unable to meet all cash requirements of people.

Besides blaming insufficient cash, banks pointed out people are reluctant with parting with fresh cash which further complicated the matter.

"People are hoarding cash and there is not enough circulation of money in the market which has made the matter worse," bank official said adding that which is why banks had imposed limit on cash disbursements in order to accommodate maximum people.

Fed up with standing in queue for withdrawing their own money, bank customers put blame on the "ill-preparedness" of the government in dealing with problems arose after demonetisation of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

"It has become difficult to get even our own cash," fumed bank customers Sukhdarshan Singh.

Bank employees federation secretary Naresh Gaur said, "We appeal to RBI to make available sufficient cash as soon as possible to banks otherwise the situation will turn worse."

He said that a security guard of State Bank of Patiala in Bathinda was allegedly beaten up by few angry men yesterday after the guard asked them to stand in a queue.

"We have also asked for police protection in order to prevent any untoward incident," he said.

Meanwhile, an official of Central in claimed that they had sufficient cash and they did not face any problem in disbursement.

Meanwhile, a noted economist Sardara Singh Johal today

praised the government for demonetisation and asked people to cooperate with it.

"We should cooperate with the efforts of the government on demonetisation. It is in the ultimate and long term interest of the people. All other things including justification or otherwise of it can be discussed later," Johal said while addressing a function in Ludhiana today.

Johal said , "We are in trouble no doubt but we must tide over the present crises by cooperating with the government on the issue otherwise it could lead to turmoil.

First Published: Thu, December 01 2016. 19:07 IST