Cash-starved people continued to queue up outside ATMs in Odisha even as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said there is no need to panic as enough cash in small denomination is available in banks.
“Small denomination currency notes are available in required numbers. People have no reason to panic,” a statement issued by the RBI, Bhubaneswar, said.
The bank advised people not to hoard money.
“As there is no shortage of money in RBI and other banks, there is no reason to keep additional notes in house. People can get money when they need it,” said RBI Assistant General Manager R C Bal.
“We have asked all banks to cooperate with people and meet their requirement,” said RBI GM R P Mohanty.
Sources said that about 3,000 of the total 6,028 ATMs in the state are not operating. Those which had cash ran dry within a few hours.
People complained that banks gave them soiled and mutilated notes in exchange.
“I got a bundle of Rs 50 from UCO Bank’s CRP Square branch here. Of 100 notes, 12 were damaged. When I drew attention of the authorities, they asked me to take Rs 2,000 notes instead,” said a customer.
Asked about the mobile banking facilities in tribal- dominated areas proposed by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the RBI General Manager said: “We have not started it yet. But the people can take help of Bank Correspodents (BCs) in getting their notes exchanged.”
People faced inconvenience in buying essentials like milk,fish and vegetables due to non-availability of notes of small denomination.
Many said that shop owners are not accepting new Rs 2000 notes.
When his attention was drawn to the problem, Mohanty said the RBI counter gives Rs 2,000 note and the rest are of small denomination.
At several places, daily wage earners were made to stand in queue as their employers paid them old Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes.
“I did not go to work for two days as the employer denied giving small denomination notes. For how many days can I sit idle? Therefore, I agreed to accept the old notes,” said Sukanti Singh, a resident of Saliasahi slums.
Like Sukanti, many daily wage earners stood in the line to exchange old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Black Money Special Investigation Team Vice Chairman Justice Arijit Pasayat said the Centre took a bold step to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, but the problems people are facing could have been avoided.