KOLKATA: Commoners throughout West Bengal had a harrowing experience on Thursday due to shortage of new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes, even as people skipped their work and stood in long queues in front of banks. Some people reached the banks as early as 6 am even when the state is of late experiencing a nip in the air after the depression over the Bay of Bengal cleared.
The situation took a violent turn at a bank in Garia, Kolkata over lesser amount given in exchange of what was announced and when the bank closed its operations before time.
Some patients brought a bag full of coins to a Kolkata hospital that refused to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
However, when the authorities refused to take the same, there were reports of clashes which were later brought under control by the police.
However, besides Kolkata, it was a total chaos in Siliguri, Asansol and Burdwan where people were either given a maximum of Rs 2,000 in new currency in exchange or asked to only deposit their old currency and withdraw new notes from Friday onwards.
“I had to skip lunch to stand in the queue and at the counter, I was told that I could exchange only Rs 2,000. It seems I have to ration my money and skip meal again tomorrow at the queue,” said one Gobardhan Dutta waiting at a bank in Beleghata, Kolkata.
Nepali-speaking Gorkhas in the hills in northern Bengal,too had to wait in long queues in the insufficient bank branches and post offices.
“Most of the people of our town have accounts in SBI and have only one branch here. Hence, we had to stand in the queue since 6 am. Finally, I got the promised Rs 4,000 in two Rs 2,000 notes,” Tsering Ongmu of Kalimpon told Express over the phone.