Withdrawal of money from ATMs remained a challenge even a fortnight after the Prime Minister had announced the demonetisation drive as most of them were "out of cash" most of the time. Metro visited banks and ATMs on Wednesday to check the ground reality.
ATMs shut or empty
A 30m stretch of Raja SC Mullick Road, near the 8B bus stand in Jadavpur, has as many as eight ATMs on both sides. At 1.30pm, they were either closed or had a "NO CASH" board pasted at the gate
Several people were seen pausing for a couple of seconds in front of the ATMs before moving on. A queue formed in no time after a cash vehicle arrived in front of an ATM of the United Bank of India (UBI).
"This is the 11th ATM I am trying today. Most of them were closed, while only Rs 2,000 notes were coming out of two. What would I do with a Rs 2,000 note?" said Ishika Roy, an MA student at Calcutta University, who was standing in the queue in front of the UBI's cash dispensing machine.
Officials said the situation would take a while to stabilise. "The RBI has said it will still take some time for stability to return to ATM transactions because a huge amount of currency has gone out of the system and is being slowly replenished.... Currency will continue to be fed to the ATMs so customers will be able to withdraw money soon," said Partha Pratim Sengupta, chief general manager, State Bank of India, Calcutta.
Subrata Sil, 70, was hosting the wedding reception of his son on Wednesday. Over the past few days, he had been visiting the Jodhpur Park branch of the Bank of India almost daily to withdraw money for making myriad payments related to the reception.
On Wednesday, too, he was at the bank. "I fell short of cash by a few thousands. So I am here again. The limit on the withdrawal is forcing me to visit the bank multiple times," said Sil, who has retired from the same bank.
The Lake Gardens resident had reached the bank at 2.50pm and could withdraw the money at 3.40pm, hours before the reception was to start.