Queues lengthen on last day of November

Kolkata, Nov 30 (IANS) In apprehension of a mad rush at the beginning of next month, people started queuing up outside banks and ATMs on Wednesday for withdrawal of cash to meet expenses for December.

Serpentine queues were seen outside banks and ATMs on Wednesday even after three weeks of demonetisation by the central government.

“I am standing here in the queue since 8.30 a.m. A rush for withdrawing cash is expected from Thursday as many people will start withdrawing their monthly salary,” said Sougata Mitra, an employee of a private firm standing outside a Bank of India branch in central Kolkata.

“To avoid such a situation, I will try to withdraw some amount to meet expenses for at least the first week of December,” said Mitra. It was 10.45 a.m. when IANS caught up with Mitra, and already 50-60 customers had lined up.

Pritha Dalal, a primary school teacher, queuing before the same branch echoed Mitra.

“What else I could do as I have no money on the last day of the month. I would like to take out cash for meeting expenses for at least half of the month,” she said

The cap on weekly withdrawal limit and lack of adequate supply of currency notes have led to the people’s sufferings since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8 announcement banning Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination currency notes.

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s order, a person can withdraw cash against withdrawal slip or cheque subject to a weekly limit of Rs 24,000 including withdrawals from ATMs and over the counter from the bank accounts.

“Since banks are rationing withdrawal of money, you have to put a break on your expenses, or, spend according to the amount withdrawn,” said Alok Sarkar, a central government employee, waiting outside a UBI branch on Strand Road.

In fact, the money crunch has forced branches of banks to cap the withdrawal limit according to their fund availability to cater to most of their customers.

“Despite the stipulated withdrawal limit laid by RBI, banks’ branches are putting their own limitation on withdrawal of money depending on their cash availability. The situation will not improve unless cash is supplied adequately,” Bank Employees’ Federation India General Secretary Pradip Biswas told IANS.

According to RBI officials, currency supply situation has been improving but supply of Rs 500 denomination notes holds the key.

“Supply of cash is improving but still there is a huge gap in demand and supply. All four currency printing units at Nashik, Dewas, Mysuru and Salboni are running to full capacity but their productivity differs. The supply of Rs 500 denomination note is the key because people prefer Rs 100 and Rs 500 denominations over the newly issued Rs 2,000 notes,” All India Reserve Bank Employees Association Secretary Sudipta Saha Roy told IANS.

“We have got about Rs 280 crore of Rs 100 denomination and Rs 500 crore of Rs 2,000 denomination including Rs 50 notes on Tuesday at RBI’s regional office here,” he said.

“Arrangements have been made to print high value currency notes in Salboni press (in West Bengal) and output from there is expected by mid December,” he added.

–IANS

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