Thousands of people lined up outside banks on Thursday for exchange or deposit of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 after the BJP governmentâ€™s move to demonetise the currency.
Long queues were seen at bank branches in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. People started arriving even before the banks opened.
Though it was announced that the banks will open at 8 am, the transactions started only at 9 am. While some banks like ICICI opened the doors for public at 9 am, many public sector banks had not opened even at 10 am.
"I am standing in queue for two hours. The officials told us that the bank will start transactions at 10:30 am," said Raghava Chary, a customer standing in queue at State Bank of India's branch at Yousufguda in Hyderabad.
At ICICI Bank's branch at Toli Chowki in Hyderabad, the transactions started at 9 am. The staff helped the customers with filling up of forms for exchange of notes and getting photocopies of their identification cards.
The exchange limit was for Rs 4,000. The bank officials were giving a new note of Rs 2000 and 20 notes of Rs 100. They said the bank had not received new notes of Rs 500.
The customers received the new note with curiosity but the problems remained in the market with severe shortage of change since Wednesday.
In Bengaluru, the St Marks Road branch of SBI put up a separate counter for the exchange of cash, beginning at 10:30am. While a number of people lined up at the bank from 10am, several customers said they faced no inconvenience. Many said they were unaware about bringing a photocopy of their ID cards. Most received 100 rupee notes in exchange, with a few receiving the new five hundred rupee notes.
The Central Bank of India in Bengaluruâ€™s CSI branch saw mostly account holders queuing up at the bank. N Srinivas, a resident said, "The process is quite easy and doesn't take very long. No inconvenience is being caused".
Though there was no limit on deposit, for big amounts the banks were insisting on PAN number. Those drawing Rs 10,000 from their bank accounts were also asked to produce their identity proof.
Long queues were also seen at the Reserve Bank of India's regional office at Saifabad in Hyderabad. Some people including contractors were carrying more than Rs 4,000 and were requesting the officials for exchange so that they can make the payments for labourers. However, the officials expressed their inability to give exchange for more than the prescribed limit.
Police were deployed at bank branches in Hyderabad and other towns in Telangana and at Vijyawada, Visakhapatnam and other places in Andhra Pradesh to control the crowd.
Bengaluruâ€™s Museum Road Post Office witnessed a long queue of residents since early Thursday morning. At 10:30am, the exchange process had not begun, although a number of people were filling up the application form. â€śAs of now, there is no cash in the post office, we are waiting for the money to come later in the day,â€ť said a post office official.
A number of residents expressed their anxiety over not having cash at hand. Rao, who had arrived at the post office says, â€śThe situation is quite difficult, as I had to skip my office, and come for the currency exchange, and there is a long queue.â€ť
(With IANS inputs)