Banks, ATMs open, but fail to fulfil needs of people in Uttarakhand

Banks, ATMs open, but fail to fulfil needs of people in Uttarakhand
Long queue at a bank in Dehradun

Arun Pratap Singh

DEHRADUN: Thousands of young and old men and women queued up outside banks and ATMs in Dehradun and other places in Uttarakhand. In Dehradun, many of the ATMs were emptied of cash within a matter of hours while some ATMs did not open at all claiming that they had not received any cash at all.

Even those who wished to deposit cash in their accounts as well as those who had brought cash for exchange were queued up outside the banks and post offices since early morning hours. A large number of persons skipped going to work to get cash to carry on their routine expenditure.

The common man also faced hardship in their efforts to change their old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes. Though the limit to change the money was fixed at Rs. 4,000 per day, many banks did not permit change of more than Rs. 2,000 per person. This led to arguments and some heated exchange of words at many banks.

On the other hand, among those who faced maximum problems as result of no cash at the banks and the ATMs were foreigners visiting places like Dehradun and Mussoorie. Many of these foreigners had changed their native currency into INR of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes and were now unable to buy anything or even eat in restaurants.

Similarly the labour from Nepal and Bihar who work in Dehradun, Mussoorie and other parts of the state also suffered. Many of them have currency of higher denomination but they were not able to change their currency into smaller notes and procure items of daily use.

Also among those very much worried were families that have marriages scheduled up in coming days. Since for marriages, most expenses are made with cash. Not only this, even the guests invited to marriages are facing problems as they can’t gift cash consisting of Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 currency notes to their hosts.

According to the bank officials, Rs. 250 crores had come in Dehradun for distribution in Dehradun city and other rural area banks in the past two days, which number around 170 in Dehradun. But this amount proved to be highly inadequate due to panic as well as necessity driven banking by the people. Banking officials claim that it would be more than a week before the rush subsides in the banks.