“Bank officials denied “shortage of cash at ATMs”, city residents in certain areas were seen searching for kiosks dispensing cash.”
The unusual cash crunch situation in several States has thrown up a conundrum. The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, said the temporary shortage is caused by ‘sudden and unusual increase’ in some areas. He assured that the problem would be tackled quickly.
“Have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. The temporary shortage caused by ‘sudden and unusual increase’ in some areas is being tackled quickly,” the finance minister tweeted on Tuesday.
Reports of ATMs running dry have been received from states like Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
‘Chaos for Commoners’
The hashtags “ATM” and “cash crunch” trended on Twitter, with people complaining that they have had to come away from ATMs without cash and some of them comparing the situation to what had happened during post demonetization period in November 2016.
Pink currency notes seem to be turning
#Black…Most #ATMs in #Patna have run out of cash… long queues greet the people, who want cash to pay their hospital bills, school fees…. Yet #RBI Patna claims there is no shortage of currency notes… #CashCrunch
“I landed in Delhi on Tuesday and have been hearing reports of cash crunch at ATMs since then. Though I have not faced an issue yet, I withdrew enough cash on today [on Wednesday] to avoid the panic that was created during demonetisation,” said 30-year-old Bharat Arora.
‘Unequal distribution of Currency or a Conspiracy?’
On Tuesday, Minister of State (MoS) for Finance SP Shukla said, “We’ve cash currency of Rs 1,25,000 crore right now. There is one problem that some states have less currency and others have more. Government has formed state-wise committee and RBI also formed committee to transfer currency from one state to other. It will be done in three days.”
However Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chuahan believe that currency notes of Rs 2,000 denomination were “missing from the market.” He alleged a “conspiracy” to create a shortage of cash in the state, where assembly elections will be held later this year, by keeping the highest denomination notes out of circulation.
‘Attacks on Government’
The opposition was quick to attack the government. Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “destroyed the banking system”.
“Nirav Modi fled with Rs 30,000 crore and the prime minister did not utter a word. We were forced to stand in queues as he snatched Rs 500-1,000 notes from our pockets and put it in Nirav Modi’s pocket,” he told ANI.
Beside, CPM leader Sitaram Yechuary tweeted, “ATMs were empty in November 2016. ATMs are empty now. And the only party flush with cash is the BJP: the people suffer.”
Meanwhile the officials of the finance ministry have held a meeting with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take stock of the situation.