Bihar: People throng banks, ATMs to exchange old notes, withdraw money

People in large numbers thronged banks to exchange old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination and withdraw money from ATMs, that went dry at several places, across Bihar on the second day of transaction.

Patna: People in large numbers thronged banks to exchange old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination and withdraw money from ATMs, that went dry at several places, across Bihar on the second day of transaction.

In Patna, many stood in long serpentine queues in front of different nationalised and private banks to exchange old currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 besides depositing and withdrawing money.

Since morning till in the evening long queues were witnessed at almost every bank branch as panic-stricken citizens went to banks on the second day of their reopening after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to demonetise Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes to fight menace of black money, corruption and fake currency.

Long queues were witnessed at ATMs too which opened today after the gap of two days. ATMs were closed for two days-Wednesday and Thursday- for their re-calibration to dispense money.

Many ATMs ran out of cash in couple of hours as there were heavy rush to withdraw money but a large number of ATMs, especially on Boring road or Boring canal road of the capital, were not working till 11 am since morning.

People were a harried lot as they were finding it difficult to meet their daily needs for paucity of money.

"After completing my morning walk, I went to the ATM of ICICI Bank around 7 am on Boring road roundabout but it was closed. One of the guards told me the ATM was to be replenished with cash in the night but the process could not be completed in the night and hence it was not dispensing money," said Ajay Kumar, a resident of Anandpuri area in the capital.

"Things have gone from bad to worse as I am completely run out of money and it is becoming difficult to meet my daily needs," Kumar added.

Vivek Kumar Singh, a resident of Rajiv Nagar, said, "I woke up early in the morning in order to avoid rush at ATMs thinking that ATMs would have been replenished in the night. But to my surprise, no ATM was opened in my vicinity."

Bank employees are facing tough time dealing with customers.

"We (employees) could not get time to have our lunch during the day as the branch was flooded with people," S K Shrivastava, Manager, Bank of India, S K Nagar branch told PTI.

The situation was more or less the same at all branches of banks be it nationalised or private banks. SBI, Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, UCO bank, ICICI, HDFC etc.

There are 6,700 bank branches in Bihar. Out of this 4,300 are in public and private sector while rest are regional rural and cooperative banks.

The state has around 6,600 ATMs and over 4 crore ATM-cum debit cards.

There were reports of shortage of cash in some branches due to huge rush of customers which was solved.

"Yes, we are getting reports of problems like shortage of cash from various branches and work of money exchange is hampered for an hour or so but soon the cash is provided to the banks concerned and work resumed. It is a continuous process. This is happening because of people rushing to the branches in huge numbers," said Praveen Kumar, Assistant General Manager, RBI Patna, who has been made nodal officer for Patna.

Similar scenes of people queueing up at various banks' branches and ATMs have been reported from various districts.

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