Anxiety gripped people in south India soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will not be legal tender from midnight on Tuesday.
In the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, people queued up at ATMs in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and other towns to deposit high denomination notes.
There were many customers going for withdrawals from ATM with the hope of getting Rs 100 notes.
The sudden decision took people by surprise. With banks to remain close on Wednesday and ATMs over next two days, people lined up at ATMs. However, many were disappointed as the machines were not dispensing Rs 100 notes.
Security personnel had atough time in control the crowd. Notwithstanding the announcement by the government that the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes can be deposited in banks or post offices from Nov 10, people lined up at ATMs to deposit the higher denomination notes.
"There will be more crowds when banks will reopen. I wanted to avoid this," said techie Sudhir Kumar at an ATM in IT hub Madhapur in Hyderabad.
People said while the government decision may be good and help in curbing black money, the sudden move has hit them. "How will I buy milk, vegetables and other essentials tomorrow (Wednesday). Nobody will accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and I don't have notes of lesser denomination," said Aleemuddin Siddiqui, a retired government employee.
The small businessmen and daily wage workers were the worst affected. "The government should have given a time for 15 days before implementing this decision. The hurry with which this was announced has badly hit the common man," said Srinivas Chary, a businessman in Vijayawada.
Chaos prevailed at petrol bunks as customers queued up with Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in their hands to buy fuel.
Petrol pump owners said while they had no objection to accepting these notes, shortage of change is the biggest problem. They said people were not understanding their difficulties and demanding change.
The panic created by the shortage of change spread to grocery shops, medical stores and other business establishments.
In Chennai too, long queues were seen outside several ATMs on Tuesday night to withdraw some cash - mostly of Rs 100 denomination, soon after the central government announced its decision
While people tried to withdraw Rs 400 from ATMs, they were not successfull as the machines had run out of Rs 100 notes. Those who tried to withdraw higher sums had to return back home only with Rs 500 notes.
"I don't have any other currency denomination at home other than Rs 500 notes. Nobody would accept them from tomorrow (Wednesday) and banks will not work. It is going to be a problem," said V.Revathi, a housewife in Chennai.
"It is a tough situation. The vendors may have to wait for couple of days to get paid in cash or accept cheque if they do not accept Rs 500/1,000 notes for their products/services. They can accept higher denomination notes and later exchange in the banks," S.Viswanathan, whose son's marriage on Thursday, told IANS.
Kerala residents too, had mixed reactions to the unexpected announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"This is just going to be a big problem for people," said a middle-aged man waiting in front of the ATM in the state capital to withdraw money.
"The impact can be seen from tomorrow onwards when there will be unending queues in front of the banks and post offices. I do not have any unaccounted or such money... all what I have is my hard-earned money and now its going to be a pain to get changed the few notes that have now been withdrawn," said Bessy John, a housewife in Kerala.
Former Indian Ambassador to Slovenia and Austria, TP Sreenivasan said the only such thing that he can recall of such a thing happening is in Myanmar and it appeared to have had an impact there.
State Bank of India chief general manager S. Adikeshen said that this is a move against corruption.
"The message is loud and clear that this is to fight corruption. In everyday life we always hear of statements being made by people when they buy a house about that they have paid this much in white and this much in black," he said.
Former Kerala legislator and bureaucrat AK.J.Alphonse, now a Bharatiya Janata Party national executive member, welcomed the decision.
"This is a blow to those who have unaccounted money and this must be seen along with the decision that was taken before to disclose unaccounted money," he said.
Bijoo John, an engineering student, said this is a good decision and all the bribe-takers and those who have unaccounted money will not be in trouble.