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Queues get longer at ATMs, banks

  • In Business
  • 00:00, 14 Nov
  • By New Delhi Bureau

New Delhi: Due to bank closure on Monday in some parts of the country, distressed people are thronging branches since most of the ATMs are out of cash. Much to people's dismay, only 60 per cent of ATMs got valid currency feed five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced surprise demonetization of two higher value currency notes. Even these 1.2 lakh ATMs (out of total 2 lakh) are running out of cash in few hours, leaving people frustrated.

Accepting that the common man is being inconvenienced, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it may still take up to three weeks for ATMs to start functioning normally. "ATMs could not have been calibrated (before the demonetization announcement) because of secrecy issue.

Thousands of people are involved in recalibration exercise (and) secrecy could not have been maintained. Recalibration takes at least 2-3 weeks," Jaitley had said.

According to a senior official at Canara Bank branch in central Delhi, today is testing time for bankers. To meet the heavy rush, more counters have been opened and middle management, including AGMs and DGMs, are dispensing cash at many branches.

Reports of chaos and scuffles at bank branches and ATMs streamed in from different parts of the country. There were also reports of heated exchanges between hassled customers and overworked bank officials. With each passing day, people seem to be resorting to extreme measures to get their hands on new currency notes.

Meanwhile a woman waiting in line at an ATM in Mayur Vihar Phase 3 in New Delhi took off her shirt to protest against the shortage triggered by the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes , leaving bystanders stunned.

The woman was taken to Ghazipur Police Station after women personnel who were called to the scene made her cover up. The woman’s dare seemed to have paid off as, after brief questioning, she was taken to an ATM nearby where she was able to withdraw cash.

 On the other hand India's security establishment has long been convinced that Pakistani spy agency ISI was pumping counterfeit notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to finance terror activities within, even earning a handsomeA profit in the process.

The ISI was clocking an annual profit of around Rs 500 crore, around 30-40% on the face value of each counterfeit Indian note produced in Pakistan, according to a report prepared by the IB, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the CBI.

Indian intelligence estimates that terror financiers incur a cost of Rs 39 per ever Rs 1,000 note printed across the border – the RBI spends Rs 29 to print a Rs 1,000 note – but manages to sell it in India through various illegal channels at Rs 350-400.

The total fake notes that came into India in 2010 from abroad was pegged at Rs 1,600 crore, the report Asays. And going by this estimate, the report put the ISI’s total profit at Rs 500 crore.