Tens of thousands of anxious people massed outside banks and ATMs here on Saturday for a third day to deposit or exchange their spiked currency or take out cash. Serpentine queues started forming outside all banks much before they opened, armed with their old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.There was anxiety and a sullen sense of anger amongst people in the winding queues.
An IANS correspondent who went around Saket in south Delhi found massive crowds outside all state-run and private banks, people desperate to get in.Although second Saturday is a holiday for most banks, the government has ordered all banks across the country to function both on Saturday and Sunday.
Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Yes Bank, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, ICICI, Standard Chartered, Kotak Mahindra… the crowds were the same everywhere.Although orderly, the long queues spilled on to the roads, creating traffic bottlenecks.”This is a complete mess,” rued Shankar, a Saket resident. “At this rate how will any of us even get into the bank and when?”
All ATMs were non-functional, with printed notices saying they had no cash. Autorickshaw driver Babuddin said this situation was no different in all the areas neighbouring Saket.”Some queues are two kilometres long,” he said. “I can’t imagine when the people at the end of the queue will be able to enter the bank.”
Saturday is the third day after banks opened across the country following a day’s closure after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday night that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would no more be legal tender.
Taken aback by the mass crisis, the government have extended till November 14 midnight the original 72-hour deadline to deposit or exchange the spiked currency.