The cash drought in most of the ATMs of the northeastern states has caused a lot of inconvenience for the people in the past few days. Senior bank officials said that the delay in supplying of remittances by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in Guwahati caused the note crisis in most of the ATMs. “We should put fresh notes in the ATMs to run the apparatus smoothly. Currently, the bank has old notes and we have asked the RBI in Guwahati to supply fresh notes of different denominations urgently,” State Bank of India (SBI) Regional Manager Dipak Chowdhury told IANS.
He said, “We expect that the situation would be normalised by mid next week. This is a temporary phenomenon.” Reports of cash scarcities in the ATMs in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram in the first week of the month have left the public in a state of anguish. An SBI official in Itanagar said that the bank had to make an internal arrangement of cash from rural branches to urban branches to address the cash deficit.
Dimapur SBI Assistant General Manager Debjyoti Dutta said that the short supply of notes from the RBI aggravated the situation and hardships to the people. “RBI would be disbursing the cash for Nagaland soon and ATMs would likely be refilled immediately. However, at the bank branches, there was still cash-at-hand to manage everyday transactions,” Dutta said.
A bank official in Imphal said that the shortage was also due to the “overdraw” of cash out of ATMs. An official of the United Bank of India (UBI) said that the ongoing problem is also due to RBI’s introduction of rationing system in supplying cash to commercial banks.
“The RBI has been distributing cash to commercial banks in northeast India on a pro-rata basis that means disbursal of cash in proportion of total number of bank account holders of a state and that of number of bank branches in the region,” the official added. As the bank officials publicly clarified about the cash crisis in ATMs, various rumours also forced people to rush in ATMs and banks to withdraw money.