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Rush in banks but cash shortage hits customers

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 10 - Massive serpentine queues were witnessed at banks today as banking transactions opened for the first time after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, but insufficient cash and delay in disbursement triggered problems in many branches which were unable to meet the demand of the public who wanted to exchange the old high denomination (OHD) notes or withdraw from their accounts.

There was not much problem in the State Bank of India branches, but several other banks reported critical shortage of cash, forcing many to close the exchange and cash counters by noon. However, banks were taking deposits.

The manager of the Ganeshguri branch of Union Bank said they had to close their exchange and cash counters by 1 pm. �The RBI initially gave us only Rs 5 lakh, but after we insisted on more, it was increased to Rs 10 lakh. Plus, we had an initial stock of Rs 5 lakh. But all that got exhausted by noon. Our people are sitting at the RBI for more cash,� he said.

An official of Vijaya Bank said cash was being disbursed to them only today, which was causing delay in operating their exchange counters.

A Bank of Baroda official said that though a few branches of the bank received the money this morning and opened for customers on time, they ran out of cash within a couple of hours.

Officials of Canara Bank also said it was the same story for them as customers queued up since morning to exchange the demonetised notes. Request to the authorities for more cash today is unlikely to be met, he added. An HDFC Bank official said though they started exchanging notes on time this morning, insufficient cash forced them to cater to only their own account holders.

Even post offices in some parts of the city were reportedly not in a position to exchange the notes till noon today.

People complained of having to wait for a long time before they could replace old higher denomination notes or withdraw from their bank accounts using pay-in slips or cheques. Some, however, complained of the restrictions placed on exchanging OHD and withdrawals from the banks. Many felt the government should have done all preparations, including stocking ATMs, before announcing the decision.

SBI spokesman Alak Choudhury told The Assam Tribune that the cash shortage was natural. �We are continuously airlifting cash from Kolkata and bringing it to the North East. Distribution is taking some time. Connectivity problem in the region is delaying the distribution,� he said.

The SBI has asked its branches to operate till 6 pm. The cash deposit counters also saw a heavy rush.

Chief General Manager of SBI, North East Circle, PVSLN Murty had assured the public yesterday that there was no shortage of Rs 100 denomination notes. He had further said that all banks would operate extra counters for extra two hours to clear the rush.

Only a maximum of Rs 4,000 per person in cash irrespective of the size of tender was being given per person after submission of valid identity proof. Anything over and above this value was credited to bank account. Banks set up additional counters to change cash as also to allow withdrawal from bank accounts through cheques or withdrawal slips with a ceiling of Rs 10,000 a day within an overall limit of Rs 20,000 a week (including withdrawals from ATMs) for the first fortnight i.e., up to November 24. Once the ATMs are fully functional, withdrawal up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 per card per day up to November 18, 2016 will be allowed. The limit will be raised to Rs 4,000 per day per card from November 19, 2016 onwards, bankers said.

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Rush in banks but cash shortage hits customers

GUWAHATI, Nov 10 - Massive serpentine queues were witnessed at banks today as banking transactions opened for the first time after demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, but insufficient cash and delay in disbursement triggered problems in many branches which were unable to meet the demand of the public who wanted to exchange the old high denomination (OHD) notes or withdraw from their accounts.

There was not much problem in the State Bank of India branches, but several other banks reported critical shortage of cash, forcing many to close the exchange and cash counters by noon. However, banks were taking deposits.

The manager of the Ganeshguri branch of Union Bank said they had to close their exchange and cash counters by 1 pm. �The RBI initially gave us only Rs 5 lakh, but after we insisted on more, it was increased to Rs 10 lakh. Plus, we had an initial stock of Rs 5 lakh. But all that got exhausted by noon. Our people are sitting at the RBI for more cash,� he said.

An official of Vijaya Bank said cash was being disbursed to them only today, which was causing delay in operating their exchange counters.

A Bank of Baroda official said that though a few branches of the bank received the money this morning and opened for customers on time, they ran out of cash within a couple of hours.

Officials of Canara Bank also said it was the same story for them as customers queued up since morning to exchange the demonetised notes. Request to the authorities for more cash today is unlikely to be met, he added. An HDFC Bank official said though they started exchanging notes on time this morning, insufficient cash forced them to cater to only their own account holders.

Even post offices in some parts of the city were reportedly not in a position to exchange the notes till noon today.

People complained of having to wait for a long time before they could replace old higher denomination notes or withdraw from their bank accounts using pay-in slips or cheques. Some, however, complained of the restrictions placed on exchanging OHD and withdrawals from the banks. Many felt the government should have done all preparations, including stocking ATMs, before announcing the decision.

SBI spokesman Alak Choudhury told The Assam Tribune that the cash shortage was natural. �We are continuously airlifting cash from Kolkata and bringing it to the North East. Distribution is taking some time. Connectivity problem in the region is delaying the distribution,� he said.

The SBI has asked its branches to operate till 6 pm. The cash deposit counters also saw a heavy rush.

Chief General Manager of SBI, North East Circle, PVSLN Murty had assured the public yesterday that there was no shortage of Rs 100 denomination notes. He had further said that all banks would operate extra counters for extra two hours to clear the rush.

Only a maximum of Rs 4,000 per person in cash irrespective of the size of tender was being given per person after submission of valid identity proof. Anything over and above this value was credited to bank account. Banks set up additional counters to change cash as also to allow withdrawal from bank accounts through cheques or withdrawal slips with a ceiling of Rs 10,000 a day within an overall limit of Rs 20,000 a week (including withdrawals from ATMs) for the first fortnight i.e., up to November 24. Once the ATMs are fully functional, withdrawal up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 per card per day up to November 18, 2016 will be allowed. The limit will be raised to Rs 4,000 per day per card from November 19, 2016 onwards, bankers said.