The Telegraph
Thursday , December 1 , 2016

Banks brace for demand surge

The queues in front of banks are feared to lengthen manifold on Thursday - the first working day of the month - but bank employees fear the cash supply might fall short of the demand.

Most banks across the city ran short of cash on Wednesday and the situation is unlikely to see a dramatic improvement in a day, officials of several banks told Metro.

Many banks across the city were unable to give money to their customers. Those who did were only giving Rs 2,000 notes which customers were reluctant to accept, leading to arguments.

What was an embarrassment on Wednesday could spell trouble on Thursday as people are expected to turn up in large numbers to withdraw a part of their salary or pension.

"Those who have not visited their banks since the demonetisation was announced on November 8, hoping that things would get back to normal in a couple of weeks, will start queuing up at the beginning of the month to withdraw money for domestic expenses. There is going to be trouble if we don't have Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes in adequate quantities," a senior official of a private bank said.

"I need Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes to pay my domestic help and the cable TV operator. My domestic help has asked me not to give her a note of Rs 2,000," Kasba resident Anindita Basu said.

The retired central government employee had queued up at her bank on Tuesday but received only Rs 2,000 as the branch was running short of cash. "What will I do if the same thing happens on Thursday?" Basu wondered.

Her fears were echoed by many bank employees. The managers of several banks told this newspaper thatthey were not in a position to allow a customer to withdraw Rs 24,000 - the weekly limit - at one go because of a cash crunch.

"We have to distribute the available cash among as many customers as possible," an official of a private bank said.

Tapan Sarkar, senior manager (operations) of Allahabad Bank's Calcutta main branch, said his branch was getting only 30 per cent of the cash they had been demanding.

"The cash availability has to go up. We are trying to serve as many customers as possible with the available cash but that is far short of the required amount," he said.

He was worried over what would happen on Thursday as around 500 pensioners withdraw money from his branch on the first day of every month.

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