SRIKAKULAM/ VIJAYAWADA: Even after one and a half years has passed since the demonetisation, the people of the State are yet to get a complete respite from the cash crunch. Time and again, a majority of the ATMs go dry, making the people scout for the ATMs dispensing cash and queue up there for cash withdrawals.
This month, the disbursal of social security benefits to the pensioners has taken the heat in Srikakulam district. Even the calendar is well past half of the month, around 35 per cent of the social security beneficiaries are yet to receive their pensions.
Statistics suggest that of the total 2.84 lakh beneficiaries in Srikakulam, around 1.06 lakh including elderly people, widows, disabled, weavers, toddy tappers and Abhaya Hastam beneficiaries are yet to get their pensions. The bankers attribute this to short supply of cash from the RBI. The banks need around Rs 30.56 crore to pay pensions to all the beneficiaries, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sent only Rs 10 crore this month for the beneficiaries of both Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts. which means the rest amount needs to be arranged by the SBI if the social security pensions are distributed to all beneficiaries in February first week.
“We are not in a position to distribute the pensions to all beneficiaries as the cash in the banks has dried up,” said DRDA project director G Kishore Kumar. With the crisis, the bankers managed Rs 3.5 crore to the SBI and another Rs 1 crore to Andhra bank on Monday for distribution of pensions.
“More than a lakh beneficiaries are yet to receive the pensions. We managed to get Rs 5 crore from the banks in Odisha for distributing the pensions. We expect all the pensions will be paid in the next two days,” said Srikakulam lead bank manager P Venkateswara Rao.
Meanwhile, Collector K Dhananjaya Reddy has requested the RBI officials to allocate Rs 100 crore immediately to handle the crisis.
“The state-level bankers’ committee will have a meeting with the RBI officials to discuss the cash crunch in the state on Wednesday,” said Rao. Meanwhile, the situation in Vizag is no different as around 70 per cent ATMs in Akkayyapalem, Old Jail Road, Sirpuram, Seethammadhara, NAD Junction and Dabagardens went dry on Tuesday, sporting ‘no cash’ boards. A few ATMs dispensing cash had long queues.
“I went to more than 10 ATMs today but no luck. The ATM near Old Jail Road was functioning but had a log queue. It took me half an hour to withdraw cash,” said Anitha, a resident of Siripuram.
Bankers say consecutive holiday and panic withdrawals led to the situation. Many bank officials were seen requesting the customers not to make heavy withdrawals in Vizag.
Though many departmental stores, restaurants and malls have the card payment facilities, people faced problems when it came to purchasing provisions from small shops and eating at small hotels.
“The cash in small denominations are also short in supply. Everyone offers me Rs 2,000 note. As I do not have loose tender, many customers return without making purchases,” said a shop vendor near Akkayapalem. In the state capital, the situation is also no different.
Almost all the ATMs of nationalised banks in Vijayawada ran out of cash on Tuesday. With the second Saturday and Sunday, the banks failed to upload adequate cash on to the ATMs. Serpentine queues were witnessed at the cash dispensing ATMs across the city.However, the bankers said that the cash crunch would ease by Wednesday.