An odd Sunday for bankers

It indeed was an unusual Sunday not just for the bank staff members, who could not reconcile working on the usual holiday, but the steady rise in the number of people desperately lining up in queues seem to have no let up.

The situation is likely to linger on for a few more days due to acute currency shortage. The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Kanhangad branch, for instance, witnessed unusual rush as the people, many of them migrant labourers, were found lining up before the bank’s Ramnagar Road branch since early morning.

Holding requisite documents, the people lined up for hours to wait for their turn braving the scorching sun.

In sharp contrast, the town by and large wore a deserted look as most business hours and traders appeared to down their shutters on the day anticipating poor business turnout as during the last few days due to acute currency crunch.

Adding to their woes, the needy customers were supplied with the highest denomination of Rs. 2,000 and Rs.10 virtually creating a sense of panic among the people who wondered as to how they would manage with the short supply of currency stock to meet their daily requirements.

Having entrusted with the task of supplying requisite amount of currencies to the 17-odd branches of other banks, the currency stock would last only for another two days, a senior bank official said.

“With sizeable number of ATMs yet to commence their normal functioning, the people are made to satisfy themselves to the restricted Rs.2,000 a day in Rs.100 or Rs.50 denominations. The currency crisis is bound to be aggravated for at least two weeks and we cannot anticipate as to how people will respond to the seemingly grim situation,” he said.

“We do not know when the RBI is going to introduce the proposed Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 denomination notes so that the situation could be been eased to a larger extend,” the senior official said, adding he could never recollect having to work on a Sunday in his entire career.

The bank has made arrangements to open additional cash counters to speed up the money transaction in an endeavour to reduce the hardship being faced by the people.

The gun-wielding security guards were put in place at vantage points to check activities of “anti-social” elements. Fishing on the troubled waters, the photostat outlets closer to banks charged up to Rs.3 per copies of the essential identity cards from the weary customers.

The situation is

likely to linger on

for a few more

days due to

cash crunch

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