Cash woes make comeback to Vizag

Most ATMs in the city limits run dry of cash, bankers blame panic withdrawals by people
An SBI ATM has its shutters down at Ramnagar. (Right) An ATM sports ‘no cash’ board near Siripuram in Visakhapatnam on Monday | Express
An SBI ATM has its shutters down at Ramnagar. (Right) An ATM sports ‘no cash’ board near Siripuram in Visakhapatnam on Monday | Express

VISAKHAPATNAM: The cash crunch has made a comeback to the city, with majority of the ATMs running out of cash. From Sunday evening, most of the ATMs in the city limits sported ‘no-cash’ board. On Monday, a few ATMs dispensed only `100 notes.

Bankers said that huge withdrawals by customers after lifting of restrictions had resulted in the problem. However, they said that the available cash is not sufficient to meet the demand.

With around 1,106 ATMs in the district, not more than 20 per cent dispensed cash. The ones at major junctions like Old Jail Road, Siripuram, MVP Colony, RTC Complex, Seethamadhara and NAD were seen either with shutters down or sporting no-cash boards, making citizens run around the city for withdrawing money. 

“Starting from the one at Siripuram petrol bunk, I went to every ATM en route the highway. But, none dispensed cash. With no option, I went to the bank to withdraw money,” said P Sastry, a resident of Kirlampudi Layout. 

Sensing the cash crunch catching up for the last two days, people are resorting to panic withdrawals. However, some ATMs dispensed only up to `5,000 per transaction, all in `100 denominations, forcing people to withdraw money from ATMs other than their parent bank. But, this spelt trouble, given the free limited transactions per month. 

“After five free transactions, the bank charges fee from the sixth ATM withdrawal. If the situation continues, there will be queue lines before the banks as none wants to shell out more for withdrawing own money,” said Poornima, a home-maker. 

According to Lead Bank manager Sarath Babu, “We have been receiving cash as per day-to -day needs, which is getting exhausted within two hours. With no restrictions on limits, there is huge demand for cash withdrawals. Depending on the capacity, we are loading cash in ATMs, but it is short of meeting the demands. Once there is inflow and outflow of cash in the banks, the problem will be solved.

However, cash sent by the RBI meant for five to six districts will be sufficient to load all the ATMs in another two days.”

He says that 30 to 40 per cent ATMs are working in the city, but as people only withdraw money from the major bank ATMs, the cash runs out in no time. “None goes to the other bank ATMs, despite those dispensing cash,”he said.

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