With demands for small denomination notes increased, many banks in Chennai started closing their shutters, while ATMs have put up board reading “ATM Out of Service”. As per banks and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) senior officials based in Chennai, the situation in the Tamil Nadu capital was getting worse as they did not have enough currency notes to release through branches or ATMs. Because of this, the central bank have started returning soiled notes to banks for re-circulation, worth not less than Rs 50 crore to SBI in Tamil Nadu alone. Hence, apart from handling huge crowd, bank officials were busy trying to sort out less damaged notes for circulation.
A central bank official told ‘The Indian Express’ that the RBI was not able to respond to calls to bank officials as they had run out of currency themselves. He added that on an average an ATM used to have Rs 20 to Rs 40 lakhs. After the denomonetisation the central bank could upload notes of only Rs 100 denomination and that, too, a maximum of Rs 2 to Rs 4 lakh in an ATM, he added.
Another official also said that they had already returned soiled notes worth crores to banks. A senior official of the SBI also said that soiled notes could only be used in branches, but not ATMs, which are too sensitive to handle damaged notes. However, according to various banks, the usual storage of cash in ATM worth Rs 20 lakh to Rs forty lakh would only last for couple of days, except during end of months, salaray dates or festive seasons.
“But since we could upload only Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh (Rs 100 denomination), many ATM counters ran dry before Friday noon. The RBI says it doesn’t have enough currency,” the paper quoted the regional head of a nationalised bank as saying.