National

Toll exemption, use of old notes for utility bills extended

Two deaths were reported, one in Mumbai and the other in Thalassery, Kerala, as ATMs reopened after two days of shutdown. People stood in queues to withdraw money from ATMs from all parts of the country, with Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes no longer considered legal tender.

The updates:

6.59 pm: Government extends use of old Rs 500/1000 notes for paying public utility bills by another 72 hours.

6.57 pm: The Centre has extended suspension of toll tax on National Highways till November 14, 2016 midnight, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in New Delhi on Friday. > Read more

6.52 pm: 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.

6.37 pm: A youth was arrested by Odisha police when he was trying to deposit fake currency notes at a bank at Khurda town amid the rush of customers depositing money following the demonetisation of high value currency notes. Sumit Kumar Tudu, a resident of Kendrapara district, was trying to deposit Rs 2.5 lakh at the SBI branch at Khurda town, around 25 km from here. “We found fake currency notes of Rs 47,000 face value in the bundle,” SBI in-charge, Khurda, Deba Prasad Kanhar said,adding that the bank authorities have informed the police about the incident.

6.35 pm: Government’s demonetisation move is a “standard prescription” to extinguish black money that was tried in the past and more measures are needed to prevent future accumulation of unaccounted money, noted economist and RBI former governor C Rangarajan said. “The government’s move to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes is a “standard prescription” in extinguishing unaccounted money. This has been tried in the past. But the government (this time) had three targets,” he said. Dr. Rangarajan, the former chairman of Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), said the targets were those who accumulated money, who issue fake currency and those financing terrorism, the last two being of different nature.

6.24 pm: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday took many by surprise when he visited SBI’s Parliament House branch to exchange demonetised currency notes with new ones, and hit out at Narendra Modi saying the Prime Minister would not understand the problems people were facing due to the Centre’s move. > Read more

6.15 pm: For the second day, people in large numbers continued to throng banks to exchange banned high denomination currency notes while most ATMs ran out of cash within hours of opening on Friday across Tamil Nadu. Though the government had announced that the ATMs would dispense cash for the customers with maximum limit of Rs 2,000 per person, most the ATMs of both public and private sector banks ran out of cash and were inactive.

5.27 pm: "Ranchi no ATM open today Banks exhausted of cash. Yesterday only 1k given after 4hrs in line. Mounting trouble for common people. Will govt be able to handle this crisis? Looks dim," activist - journalist Xavier Dias from Ranchi said on social media.

5.26 pm: Rakesh Haldankar, a worker at Western Railway, said "I was at State Bank of India where I waited for 4 hours but nothing happened. I'm do frustrated now. The government should have given some time to the people. I believe black money will come out in this manner but in order to remove black money stacked by big people, we poor people are loosing out on our basic survival money and time". He was seen waiting outside Bank of Baroda for 1-1/2 hours after he left from SBI.

5.07 pm: A 73-year-old man collapsed and died in Mumbai as cash-strapped people in the country’s financial capital and suburbs rushed to ATM counters. Vishwanath Vartak, who was standing in the queue before an SBI branch for exchanging currency, collapsed and died on the spot at Navghar in Mulund in eastern suburbs, police said. >Read more

4.35 pm: In Thalaserry, a 48-year-old man, who came to deposit Rs. 5 lakh worth scrapped high denomination notes in a bank here, died after he fell down from the second floor of the building, police said. Unni, a Kerala State Electricity Board employee, was filling the necessary forms to deposit the amount in the State Bank of Travancore’s branch, located in the first floor, when the mishap occurred, they said quoting preliminary information.

4.23 pm: Balasubramanian, President – Transaction Processing & ATM Services, FSS. FSS manages 40,000 ATMS across the country. "We have cleared only 50 per cent of ATMs as of yesterday, flushing out old cash notes of Rs. 500 and 1000 and loading Rs, 100 notes. In six days the entire process would be over. For Rs. 2000 notes testing and configuration has to be carried out for dispensing them through ATMs. Hence Rs. 2000 notes will be available at the ATMs only after a week."

3.57 pm: Hena Ahmed, Deputy Manager – Marketing & Communication, Primarc Project said "For me my digital wallet, paytm and online transactions came to rescue, being a professional I am die-hard against standing in the serpentine line in the ATMs. There was a cash crunch in the ATM of my locality (Topsia) and immense ruckus and rush. There was a lot of paranoia among the local vendors, my maid was baffled as to what would happen next and how are they going to survive in the coming days. I had to console and arrange cash for them. The non-acceptance of 500 and 1000 notes has led to unecessary halt in our life, every move is restricted."

3.39 pm: Global inter-governmental body FATF has lauded the demonetisation saying withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was an “unprecedented” step. “Unprecedented action to clean currency in circulation. India is a valued member of FATF and global AML/CFT efforts,” FATF Executive Secretary David Lewis tweeted.

3.27 pm: BJP president Amit Shah said the Narendra Modi government’s move to demonetise high value currency notes would greatly benefit the economy and urged the people to join the campaign against corruption. > Read more

3.25 pm: Lauding the move to abolish high-currency notes, former Supreme Court Judge N Santosh Hegde said the government should now take steps to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks, and ban cash donations to political parties. “I fully agree with Government of India decision. Every decision will cause some sort of a hardship to the people (in the short—term) but that cannot be a ground to say that we should allow to keep the black money in circulation,” he said. “At the time, I wish they (the government) should do something more in bringing the money in the foreign banks which was their (BJP’s) election manifesto actually,” said Mr. Hegde, who was a key figure in the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement a few years ago.





3.18 pm: A lady, who refused to give her name, had a strong take on demonetisation. As she stood outside HDFC bank, Babulnath Branch, for exchange of notes as the ATMs were shut, she said "This is a 'torture the commonman' tactic they're using. Instead of going to work to earn money, we're waiting here in lines wasting time. And all this struggle for the money we have earned with so much hard work. They government will call it whatever they want. But by calling it a surgical strike, they can't make the common people feel better about the trouble they are putting us in. "

3.05 pm: People in Bidar suffered as ATMs did not start till Friday afternoon. Only a few ATMs like those of Karnataka Bank and SBI opened late in the afternoon and people had to withdraw money with great difficulty due to the rush. Crowds swelled in front of banks. Police had to be deployed, along with the bank security guards to control the crowd at the SBI branch on Udgir road. Pratibha Baburao, a housewife who said she had to buy essentials for the Tulasi Lagna festival on Friday, was disappointed. "I went to the bank in the Gandhi Gunj market area in the morning. But it was locked. I went to the bank to withdraw money, but they asked me to come back with my passbook."

3.02 pm: As the country grapples with the demonitisation of old Rs.500 and Rs.1000 currency notes, ATMs are supposed to provide currency notes of Rs.100 and Rs.50 from today, after a nationwide shutdown of two days. > Read more

2.51 pm: Subhakirti Majumdar Director General, Indian Jute Manufacturer Association said that "of the Rs. 300 crore monthly payment, most is paid by cash on weekly basis. It is a sensitive volatile issue which may lead to law and order problems if not disbursed properly." The Tea industry too has flagged similar concerns seeking special dispensation.

(People wait in the line to exchange the old currency at GPO of Abids in Hyderabad on Friday. Photo. G. Ramakrishna)

2.47 pm: Enough cash is available with banks, says RBI asking public to be patient in exchange of defunct Rs 500/1000 notes. > Read more





2.46 pm: Two traditional industries — Tea and jute — have written to Reserve Bank of India flagging problems over payment in cash of Rs. 100.





2.43 pm: Our Correspondent Vidya Venkat adds "Forex counters in international airports aren't accepting Rs. 500, Rs. 1000 notes. Causing much inconvenience to travellers. On November 10 only one money exchange counter was open in Chennai International airport , where the queues were longer than in immigration. In Abu dhabi airport too Forex counters refused Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 notes

2.36 pm: There were long lines outside banks in the city and most ATMs remained closed in the city on Friday, much to the chagrin of Bengalureans. While a few ATM kiosks are open in parts of the city, many do not have new notes and the people queueing up could only deposit old notes. "The daily withdrawal limit of Rs. 2000 is not enough and anyway is useless if you don't get a functioning ATM. I have been standing since morning to withdraw cash from my bank," said Rohini Rao, a resident of Vijayanagar. At another private bank in Cox Town, the public who were waiting for more than an hour were told that the bank had run out of new notes to exchange and the customers could only deposit the demonitised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 bills. “I’ve been waiting here since morning, and now I get to know I won’t be getting any money,” said a woman in her twenties, looking dejected. Another had come to the bank after her husband, who was waiting in queue since 8 a..m., called her to bring his ID card which he had forgotten. “Lucky he managed to get inside, we were in urgent need of money,” said the woman. Guards struggled to manage the crowd. At one ATM kiosk in Frazer Town, no money had arrived. “Money was put in yesterday but got over in an hour. More cash should be coming in at 4 p.m.,” said the guard manning the kiosk. At the General Post Office, the public, many who were waiting for an hour and more, became restive and started arguing with officials after the latter announced that no more new currency would be dispensed.

2.31 pm: Panic-stricken citizens queued outside banks, post offices and ATMs across Gujarat on the second consecutive day to get new currency notes in exchange of their now defunct bills following Centre’s move of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. People in dire need of lower denomination currency and new banknotes to pay for their daily expenses started rushing to the ATMs, which began functioning today after a break of two days, since early morning.

2.22 pm: People at HDFC bank in Mumbai are waiting in exchange queues as ATM's are not operational. Aashish Shah, businessman and Dr Dakshini Shah, physiotherapist who took 1-1/2 hours in the line for withdrawal said, "Our minds are so blocked ever since demonetisation of 50p has come up. We don't even know how this is going to turn out. May be only after 2 months we all will come to know how effective this really is. Hoping for the best."

2.21 pm: The Karnataka High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL against demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currencies. Observing that the certain hiccups are common when such exercises were undertaken across the nation, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Budihal R.B dismissed the petition, filed by Mohammad Haroon Rashid, an advocate. Besides claiming that the demonetisation exercise had impact general public at large, the petitioner had claimed that the exercise was a violation of the Reserve Bank of India Act.

1.58 pm: As most ATM's are shut, the crowd is moving to exchange counters but getting back home without any transaction due to the long queues. An owner of a shop near Babulnath Temple said, "Even I have been waiting for 2 hours now. But I don't get why everybody is complaining so much. It is very inconvenience as the business is going down and people are just moving, but I'm sure if Modi ji has taken this step, he has thought about the future of the country. After a while it will all be fine. People will also slowly realize this I think."

1.54 pm: A report from Vijayawada said that the ATMs are not configured for the new Rs. 2,000 notes and the bank officials are keeping their fingers crossed over short of Rs. 100 notes. > Read more

1.40 pm: In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav requested that old notes of 500 and 1000 be considered valid at private hospitals, nursing homes and medicine shops till November 30. "Till things normalize, the poor and ill should not face any problems in treatment, admission in hospitals or purchase of medicine," Mr. Akhilesh said. "I would like to draw your attention to this serious problem for your urgent notice and intervention," Mr. Akhilesh said. When a common man or a farmer is visiting a hospital for treatment due to an accident, illness, crisis, or for medicines, he is facing a great deal of inconvenience due to the scrapping of old notes. The situation is also proving life-threatening for some patiens," Mr. Akhilesh said.

(Long queues outside a bank at Purasawakkam on Friday. On Day 2, people turned up in large numbers to deposit or exchange old notes after the demonetisation of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 by the Government. Photo: R. Ragu)

1.36 pm: Meanwhile, the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a statement said "May I appeal to all political parties in the Opposition to work together boldly against the anti-poor govt at the Centre. Let us fight this political & financial anarchy together. We will be with you all." "I enquired from all sections of society about present financial chaos. The feeling is that black money was to be brought back from outside as per the electoral assurance. But now the government has made the common people feel helpless and penniless. Is it right ?". Both these statements were made on Thursday night.

1.34 pm: “I have a new 2000 Rs. note. But it is useless as no one is ready to accept it for two reasons. One, they do not know how the new note looks like as no body has seen it. Two, If I buy stuff worth 500 rupees no one can return 1500 as no body has any change. The city has come to a standstill,” said Mr Mazumdar a city-based small entrepreneur. He also added that in two big residential neighbourhood in south Kolkata — Dhakuria and Lake Gardens – there is “no cash” in any of the ATMS. “Thousands are on road, mostly elderly men and women, and they are in a seriously sorry state,” Mr Mazumdar said

1.30 p.m: One of the managers trying to manage the crowd outside lost his cool when a customer waiting in the line yells about the procedure taking too long. He said "You and me are poor so we have limited cash to exchange and deposit. But there are so many people getting fake currency to exchange and taking our cash. We have to take proper measures and check before we give off money. "

1.15 p.m.: Housewives at Central Bank wanting to pay rent, complain about having to wait in deposit lines although their transactions are different. They say, "The bank isn't well equipped so there is a chaos here. It took us 1.5 hours to do a transaction completely different from the crowd but still we are taking as much time as them."

1.10 p.m.: Goutam Dutta, who works at an electronics company was exasperated as he has been standing in the queue for more than an hour. "All my salary was paid in Rs. 500 and Rs.1,000 notes. How will I manage my daily expenditure?" he wondered.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav wrote to Arun Jaitley requesting that old notes of 500 and 1,000 be considered valid at private hospitals, nursing homes and medicine shops till November 30. Till things normalise, the poor and ill should not face any problems in treatment, admission in hospitals or purchase of medicine, Mr Yadav said in a letter to the finance minister on Friday.

"I would like to draw your attention to this serious problem for your urgent notice and intervention," Mr. Yadav said.

12.40 p.m.: Suman Mukherjee, a government employee receives Rs 2,000. He says this is his first transaction in the past three days to meet family expenses.

Long queues, frayed tempers and helpless response are the order of the day across Kerala as the second day of currency exchange and issuing of new Rs. 2,000 denomination notes wore on.

Long queues began forming before ATMs from early morning. Many of the late comers had to go empty handed as the currency notes stocked in the ATMs ran out by late morning at many places.

12.25 p.m.: "I have been standing in the queue for nearly an hour. Hopefully cash will be available as I mostly have Rs. 500 notes", said Sanjoy Saha who was standing before an ATM in Central Kolkata.

12.20 p.m.: Manish Agarwal, head of ATM operations, UBI Kolkata says three ATMs have been opened. "On a daily basis we have 600 transactions. In a few hours, we will have more than thousands. Only Rs. 100 notes are available."

12.10 p.m.: ICICI Bank appeals for calm: "We saw a large number of customers visiting our branches today. We would like to thank everyone for their patience and support. For your convenience, our branches will remain open this Saturday and Sunday." Anit Kumar Bishwakumar (38), who works in a private firm, says he is standing in the currency exchange queue of ICICI Bank at Vasant Vihar. The queue has been put on hold by security guards as account holders' line is sped up.

12.04 p.m.: Kotak Mahindra, Vasant Vihar branch, Thane has stopped exchange of currency and its ATM has closed. The bank will begin operations after 4.30 p.m. says Santosh Kumar, an employee. IDBI bank of Vasant Vihar will begin the exchange of currency after 2 p.m. Sreekumar Das, a 35-year-old driver says that he went to Kotak Mahindra, Axis Bank and TJS branch of Vasant Vihar and now ICICI.

12 noon: While the rush in public sector banks to deposit demonetised currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denominations has kept the staff and managers under pressure for the second day, there was visible relief to some extent in branches of private banks and finance societies in Belagavi city and taluk centres of the district on Friday.

However, the focus of the public debate on the decision of the government to undo with the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes purportedly at checking black money and freeing the country from corruption has become intense with everyone one meets is keen to if it really bring down the corruption from the system.

A bus conductor, while posing same question felt that the measure, undoubtedly bold, could help unearth black money and fake currencies within the country for the time being. What about the huge black money stashed in foreign banks, he asked.

Further, he wanted to how the new Rs. 2,000 denomination notes would prevent accumulation of black money hereafter. On the contrary, people can save double the amount in less room, he quipped.

A passenger in the bus posed a question: "Can the unemployed youth get government jobs without paying bribe now onwards?"

Another, said with full confidence that there would not be any change as far as corruption was concerned.

11.55 a.m.: Supriya Tikam, 52 says she is waiting for more than an hour at ICICI Bank at Vasant Vihar in Thane. The queue for exchanging demonetised denominations is moving very slowly. Security are guards allowing a person every 15 minutes.

A person leaves an ATM at Koyambedu, Chennai after withdrawing money. Photo: K. Pichumani

11.50 a.m.: Booking counter at Ropeway, Nainital is empty as most of the tourists have left the town due to the demonetisation announcement.

After the demonetisation move Ropeway, which is a major tourist attraction at Nainital since it involves cable car ride to an altitude which allows the view of the Himalaya mountain peaks including Trishul, Nanda Devi and Nanda Ghunti, has witnessed a major reduction in the tourist numbers.

Dinesh Upadhyay, Assistant Manager at Ropeway, said, "In the past two days the tourist number at Ropeway has reduced to one-third of what it was three days back."

Photo: Kavita Upadhyay

By Friday afternoon only 40 passengers had taken the cable car ride. On Wednesday only 131 people bought the tickets. However, on Thursday about 200 people bought the tickets.

"Before the demonetisation announcement we had at least 550 tourists everyday" Mr Upadhyay said.

11.30 a.m.: Chaos at Axis Bank in Manpada, Thane. ATMs are still closed as cash hasn't arrived yet. People are waiting in queues. No chance of getting Rs. 100 notes as Rs. 2,000 notes are only provided to people at large till afternoon, says Amit Suryawanshi of Axis Bank.

ATMs in Mangaluru are yet to become functional as cash is still being loaded to machines. Queues are found inside banks.

A senior official of State Bank of India in Madurai says their ATMs attached to branches are predominantly functional as cash is loaded by the bank employees. Delays are in other ATMs where loading of cash is outsourced to other companies. "They have begun work in the morning and due to limited number of staff available with them, it is going to take time. We are hoping all ATMs to be functional by evening," he said.

Denying that cash was in shortage, the official said the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 are not likely to be available in ATMS for the first few days as some some technicalities related to configuration need to be sorted out. However, he refused to elaborate on it.





11.20 a.m.: N. Kumarapandi, a resident of K. Pudur in Madurai, says he has been going around the city since morning to withdraw money but was yet to find a working ATM.

"I run a workshop and needed money for some urgent transactions. There are long queues in the bank and they are encouraging only cash exchange and deposits. Not withdrawals." Meanwhile, people continued to queue up in banks for the second day to exchange denominations of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000.

11.10 a.m.: Majority of the ATMs remain out of service in Madurai. Bank officials cite non-availability of cash and delay in loading the cash in ATMs.

An official from HDFC's Anna Nagar branch says their ATMs likely to become functional after 3 p.m.

Mallikarjunappa, labour supervisor from Haroorgeri in Bidar, Karnataka, said, "I am supposed to distribute wages to construction laborers today. But the ATMs are closed. I tried to go to ATMs of different banks. All are closed. I am waiting for over an hour now."

11 a.m.: On Friday morning, people of all ages form a queue outside the State Bank of India ATM in Srikrishnapuri locality of Patna.

Rajesh Kumar, a local shop-owner desperately waits for his turn to reach the machine to get the required money, which would help him running his business and home.

"I've been waiting for my turn for last one hour... still 20-25 people are there ahead of me to withdraw the money... the government should have made some other fast measures for convenience of people... it may be a good step by the government but for us it has pose great difficulty", Mr Kumar told The Hindu.

People are getting only old Rs.100 notes from the machine and that too with a cap of Rs 2,000.

Other ATM kiosks of different private banks are closed. People could be seen running from one ATM to other to withdraw money.

At Exhibition Road, most private bank ATMs are closed. The guards said money vans are yet to reach the ATM.

In banks, people now have started to gather to withdraw their money. Most of them said for the last two days they couldn't do their usual business because of a shortage of required currency notes.

A scene at the SBI ATM at Srikrishnapuri, Patna. Photo: Amarnath Tewary

10.45 a.m.: It is 10.45 a.m. and ATMs are yet to open in Bidar. People form long queues before the SBI on Udgir road. Police have been deployed to control the crowd.

10.35 a.m.: All ATM centres and banks in Gujarat continue to witness long queues on the second day of after banks reopened following demonetisation of high value currency.

There is a huge rush of people to withdraw money at ATM centres from the morning.

"We are trying to cope with the rush of people who are standing in queues to exchange old notes, deposit old notes and withdraw from ATMs," a senior official of the SBI told The Hindu.

According to insiders, ATMs in semi urban and rural areas have still not been replenished new currency notes to be dispensed while there are technical glitches also being reported from across the state.

"Due to heavy rush, we are running out of currency at many places," a senior official of a private bank said.

10.30 a.m.: Tourists faced major cash issues due to the demonetisation announcement left the tourist places including Nainital and Mussoorie within two days of announcement.

Bookings in hotels across Uttarakhand cancelled till November 20.

10.09 a.m.: Most ATMs are yet to open in Tiruchi. Bank employees are asking people to come after one hour. ICICI bank employees say that there is a problem in server and it would be set right in an hour. Several ATMs remain shut in Rrirangam in Tiruchi district.

10.05 a.m.: Jugal Kishore, a security guard at an Axis Bank ATM in Gurugram says that cash is expected to reach the ATM by 2 p.m.

Photo: Ashok Kumar

10 a.m.: Even as the ATM booths reopened in Jaipur on Friday after a gap of two days, most of them remained vacant as the currency notes were not loaded in the machines. People who were waiting at the ATMs dispersed after being informed that the cash would be available later in the day.

However, long and serpentine queues were witnessed outside the bank branches in the city with the people turning up for the second consecutive day to get the old currency notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 changed and withdraw money from their accounts. ATM booths vacant at Dehradun, Uttarakhand too since money has not been loaded in several ATM machines yet.

Photo: Mohammed Iqbal

9.50 a.m.: Karur Vysya Bank has sent messages to its customers that charges won't be levied until November 18, for using other banks' cards.

Customers at an SBI ATM in Perambur, Chennai. Photo: V. Ganesan

9.45 a.m.: No queues outside ATMs in Gurugram as cash is yet to reach ATMs.

9.15 a.m.: Some ATMs are not accepting cards from other banks, reports P.V. Srividya from Coimbatore.

9 a.m.: Outside the Sahibabad branch of Central Bank of India in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

8.50 a.m.: People are seen queuing up outside ATMs in Tamil Nadu.

A customer gets a regret slip from an ATM.

8.45 a.m.: Bank account holders were greeted with a positive message on the morning of November 11 saying that they could draw money from the ATMs.

But when customers swiped their cards in the machines at Kancheepuram, the machines churned out slips carrying a regret message stating that it was unable to process the request.

When contacted, ATM security personnel said that they have been directed to keep the centre open and they do not know when the machine would be loaded with cash.

However, at some ATM centres the security personnel diligently displayed "Out of service" board in order to avoid queries from visitors.


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