No respite from queues for cash

Kolkata/New Delhi: One more death due to apparent stress arising out of long wait for cash was reported today as there was no respite from queues for people to get valid currency 10 days after the demonetisation that also saw Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sitting on a dharna.

With tightening of the exchange norms and use of indelible ink, the serpentine queues before bank branches have, however, shortened at some places though ATM transactions continues to be a nightmare in several cities and towns.

Chaotic scenes could still be seen at banks and ATMs as people queued up for hours to get cash to meet their daily expenses even as bank branches and cash vending machines struggled to manage the rush.

Siyaram, a resident of Balapatti in Hathras district in Uttar Pradesh who had been standing in the queue for the past three days and failed to get his old notes exchanged, was taken seriously ill yesterday and was rushed to hospital where he died, Superintendent of Police Dilip Kumar Srivastava said.

The victim had been standing in the queue before the Canara Bank branch near Burz wala Kuan, the SP said, adding that police has been deployed in view of huge crowds collecting in front of banks.

The locals have repoRtedly sent a fax message to the Prime Minister’s Office demanding a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the family of the deceased.

The queues outside banks and ATMs in Mumbai and suburbs continued even as people struggling to get cash expressed unhappiness over the reduced limit of exchange.

However, despite facing problems, many people say they are with the government on the demonetisation move but also suggested the process needed better preparedness.

Standing in a queue outside a bank in Vile Parle, Pradeep Karmakar said, “First the maximum exchange limit was Rs 4,000 and it was raised up to Rs 4,500 following the protests, but now this limit has been reduced to Rs 2,000.

What we will do with a meagre Rs 2,000?”

Public and private sector banks across Tamil Nadu continued to witness large number of people thronging the branches while cash vending machines were either non- functional or ran dry within hours.

Some banks faced shortage of currency leading to frayed tempers as people were told to wait for ‘sometime.’

Some customers turned back disappointed as banks did not dispense cash following shortage.

Vijayan, along with his ministers, sat on a dharna in front of the RBI office in Thiruvananthapuram protesting against the Centre’s move to “destroy” the cooperative sector in the state under the cover of demonetisation process.

Vijayan and his Cabinet colleagues marched from the Martyrs Column at Palayam to the RBI regional office before commencing the dharna.

In the national capital, labourers and traders at Delhi’s fruits and vegetable mandis were among the worst affected with sales in wholesale markets plunging and daily wage workers struggling to make a living.

At Azadpur Mandi, Asia’s largest wholesale market for fruits and vegetable, migrant workers can be seen sitting idle in a huddle, waiting for work or payment to arrive.

“We used to make a decent income earlier but now getting even Rs 200 or Rs 300 is getting difficult as no work is available.