BENGALURU: While most ATMs in the city are running dry of cash within minutes of being reloaded, people are being forced to take cash from petrol bunks and commercial establishments by swiping their credit or debit cards. Taking advantage of the situation, some petrol bunks and commercial establishments are extracting a commission ranging from 10 to 20 per cent every time they give cash to a person.
The Centre has allowed public sector oil marketing companies to dispense cash up to Rs 2,000 per day per person. The service is available in fuel pumps using State Bank POS (point of sale) machines to swipe debit/credit cards.
As banks and post offices stayed shut on Sunday and very few ATMs dispensed cash, people were forced to shell out a 10 to 20 per cent commission to get hold of some cash.
The ATMs which were loaded with cash in the morning ran dry in less than an hour as people thronged them. By 11 am, most of the ATMs in Bengaluru West were seen shut.
People who bought goods were seen requesting the shopkeepers to debit more money from their cards and give them cash in hand instead. While in some cases there was no commission charged, there were many instances where people had to pay extra to get some cash in their wallets.
Chikkanna, a resident of Chandra Layout, was in urgent need of Rs 1,800 to meet his medical expenses.
“I went to as many as 10 ATMs but all of them were either out of cash or shut down. There was no other means for me to get some cash. So I approached a petrol bunk to get some cash as I had to buy medicines. However, I was asked to pay a commission of Rs 200. When I asked why I should pay extra, he said that even the petrol bunks would be charged a tax for this service. But it was evident that they were committing daylight robbery,” he said.
Rukmini, a resident of Nrupatunga Road, was also forced to pay a commission of Rs 300 in order to get hold of Rs 3,000 from a petrol bunk.
“I have exceeded the withdrawal limit from ATMs. However, I desperately needed the money to buy things for home so I went to a petrol bunk to get some cash. But I was asked to pay a commission of Rs 300 by the petrol bunk employee.”
When asked about this scam, a police official said, “Nobody has filed any complaint in this regard till now. We will seek legal opinion before taking any action. But we do know that this is happening rampantly.”