The Telegraph
Friday , February 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Closed ATMs take city by surprise

Mrinalini Basu, a copywriter at an advertising agency on Mirza Ghalib Street, had all but forgotten about Thursday’s strike till she tried withdrawing money from an ATM.

Banks and over 80 per cent of the 5,000-odd ATMs across the state remained shut for the second consecutive day on Thursday even as everything else got back to its feet after Wednesday’s bandh.

The 48-hour strike called by central trade unions was only partially successful on Wednesday with public transport plying and several offices and shops remaining open.

Even those who had stayed home on Wednesday got back to work on Thursday and were caught unawares by the closed ATMs. “It was a usual working day and I was reminded of the strike only when I found an ATM shut,” said Mrinalini. Nearly all ATMs in Calcutta’s central business district remained shut.

Debasish Choudhury and wife Gopa, who have been in Kuwait for 32 years and are in the city on holiday, said they had heard of strikes but got a taste of it only this time. “We wanted to withdraw money but failed to find any ATM open,” said Debasish, who is staying at The Park.

Rajen Nagar, the president of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), however, said many ATMs opened after 6pm on Thursday. Though some ATMs like the ones run by the State Bank of India on Theatre Road and JL Nehru Road did open shutters, quite a few remained closed.

Banking services shall resume on Friday.