ANDHRA PRADESH

People turn restive as majority of ATMs go dry

Students of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing queue up to exchange their old currency notes at the Maharanipeta branch of State Bank of India in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.— PHOTO: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Students of St. Joseph’s College of Nursing queue up to exchange their old currency notes at the Maharanipeta branch of State Bank of India in Visakhapatnam on Sunday.— PHOTO: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM  

Central government has taken a decision without proper planning, feel many

Though it has been five days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision that the old high denomination Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender, the common man and the middle class people are still feeling the pinch.

Those who made a beeline for the ATMs of various banks in the city were greeted with ‘ATM not working’ boards on Sunday morning.

Many made no secret of their anger and frustration at the decision of the government in taking a ‘bold step’ but ‘without proper planning’ causing hardship to daily wage earners, low-income groups and the middle class.

A motorcyclist was at his wit’s end, when the tube punctured and he approached a roadside mechanic at Marripalem on Sunday morning. He had only an old Rs.500 note and he got the old tube replaced with a new one for Rs.280, he handed over Rs.500 to the mechanic and the latter asked him to collect the note after getting him the change.

A trader declined to accept the old Rs.500 from his regular customer and instead asked him to avail credit and pay him the money later. A milk supplier of the Visakha Cooperative Dairy said the dairy was not accepting OHD notes. He failed to supply milk to his regular customers on Sunday.

Online shopping

The ATMs of ICICI at Madhavadhara, VUDA Colony, Santhipuram, ran dry on Sunday. Though the ICICI ATM at Seethammadhra also did not function in the morning, by evening the two ATMs were working. “I was passing this way [Seethammadhara] and peeped in and was surprised to find a small queue. I adjusted with whatever little cash I had for the past few days. I got to use my debit card more to shop,” said cartoonist Hari, a resident of Akkayyapalem.

“Today [Sunday], I went to a hotel and the merchant said the card was not getting connected and asked me to pay in cash. I only had an old Rs.500 note, which he declined to accept. Luckily, he got the connection a little later and the problem was solved,” he said.

“I was earlier reluctant to use my card at merchant outlets. Now, I feel that using cards and going for online banking is much easier,” Mr. Hari said.

“Though common man had initially hailed the ‘surgical strike’ of Mr. Narendra Modi against fake currency notes and black money, the immediate effect of this master-stroke seems to be boomeranging. The government failed to realise that the common man had become its biggest immediate victim”, said Javvadi Lakshmana Rao of B.S. Layout.

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