While ATMs will be operational from Friday, it will take another 10 days for the situation to normalise, since there are close to two lakh ATMs and only three to four vendors to reconfigure them, SBI chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said on Thursday.
According to Bhattacharya, some of the ATMs are configured to dispense only R100 notes, and they will need to be re-configured to dispense other denominations as well. “There are many ATMs with only R100 configuration and they have to be reconfigured, it was done in the recent past.”
SBI is trying to put an additional cassette in ATMs with one R100 cassette so that these machines can dispense more notes, she said. ATM cassettes are specially-designed containers required to dispense cash to customers. “Re-configurations, as we have done in the past, takes time, so it has to be done one by one,” she said.
Bhattacharya said it is very early to say if the bank was facing any cash crunch. There could be some issues with the amount of cash available at peripheral branches of the bank. “The issue is with the peripheral centres where there is need for longer transport and which require adequate security,” she said.
The SBI chief added that in some states the bank is required to airlift money and since availability of helicopters depend on the weather, there could be some problems in those areas.She said that all branches will remain open till 7 pm.
SBI has doubled the limit on merchant transactions to ensure that customers do not face any shortfall while using debit cards at outlets.
In a statement on Wednesday, Bhattacharya had said the bank would strive to restock ATMs at the earliest and make them operational.
“The government has given enough exemptions to ensure urgent needs are met. We will work round the clock to ensure that customers have smooth experience,” she had said.