Braving the morning chill, hundreds of people, young and old, queued up at ATMs and banks across Bengaluru on Thursday to withdraw cash at the earliest.
Anticipating a heavy rush on the month's first day, banks filled up their ATMs with Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100 currency notes during the night to ensure that customers could withdraw cash directly rather than queuing up at the branches.
Similarly, hundreds of customers without debit or credit cards queued up at bank branches in residential and commercial areas with cheques and passbooks in hand more than an hour before they opened for transaction to avoid delay in getting cash across-the-counter on salary day.
"Expecting more withdrawals on this day, we have not only filled all our ATMs in the city with cash, but also kept more cash ready to refill them soon and ensure that those with debit or credit cards do not crowd our branches," said Shridar Murthy, a state-run bank branch official here.
With the daily withdrawal limit of Rs 2,500 from ATMs and Rs 10,000 per day or Rs 24,000 a week from counters to each customer in force, banks have braced themselves to disperse the permitted amount to as many of their customers as possible.
"We are doing our best to ensure that all our savings and current account customers are able to draw cash up to the limit they are entitled to through ATMs and across counters, as they need more cash in the first 10 days of the month to meet their requirements," said Murthy.
As the largest state-run bank with about 2,000 ATMs and 200 branches across the city, the State Bank of India (SBI) has collected about Rs 100 crore from the regional Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to stock its ATMs and branches with enough cash to allow its customers draw cash for salaries and other expenses during this week.
"In view of our large customer base, with more accounts of government agencies, private organisations and companies and pensioners, we have roped in about 100 of our retired officials to help the staff in handling the rush," said SBI's Bengaluru circle's General Manager Rajni Mishra.
According to a report by the Times of India, printing presses, two owned by RBI at Mysuru and Salboni, and two government-owned ones at Nashik and Dewas, which were oper ating two shifts, have now started working three shifts to augment the supply of Rs 500 notes.
The report also said that the effort over the last couple of days had been to stock the banks run by the state with cash where government employees have accounts and salaries are paid on the 1st or 2nd of the month.
The RBI has increased the supply of cash to nearly four times of what banks received last week and the situation at banks and ATMs is expected to improve substantially on December 1, the reports said.
(With IANS inputs)