Cash crunch woes at banks and ATMs in Bihar

Banks and ATMs in Patna and elsewhere in Bihar are reportedly facing a heavy cash crunch. Many customers say they are not able to withdraw money from ATMs or from bank branches

Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Zaheeb Ajmal

Customers are not able to withdraw money from ATMs or from bank branches due to a reported cash crunch in the Bihar state capital. There are reports of cash crunch elsewhere in the state too. The situation is reportedly the same for both private and government banks. Bank officials say that the Reserve Bank of India is not able to fulfill their demands for cash flow.

SBI account holder Abhinandan Kumar told National Herald, “I had an urgent requirement to withdraw ₹10,000 from my bank account. I could not withdraw money from 10 ATMs, as all were out of cash. I could withdraw only ₹4,000 from a private bank ATM and guess what, transaction amount will be deducted for the same. Before this, I had visited an SBI branch in the city but when I went to the counter after filling the withdrawal form, they asked me to come tomorrow as they didn’t have cash.”

A 50-year-old man had to thrice return from ATMs without being able to withdraw money. At last, he asked his son to withdraw money from Patna and send him through one of his relatives.

National Herald spoke to Uma Kant Singh, President of SBI Officer’s employee’s association to enquire about this reported cash crunch situation in the state. Singh said, “We don’t have enough money in our branches and ATMs. Our chest has a capacity of ₹12,000 crore, but we only receive ₹2,500 crores from RBI. Out of this only ₹600 crore rupees goes for filling 1,500 ATMs across Bihar.

“Earlier, we used to visit RBI once or twice a year for money for chest but now we have to visit RBI twice a month. One-time cost for a truck to transport money is around ₹1.5 lakh. If our nodal agency (RBI) is unable to fulfil our cash requests, how will we serve the customers. Prior to this, such a situation has never arisen”, Singh added.

Denying claims of customers being asked to come next day for cash withdrawal, Singh said, “We have been trying to fulfill customers’ cash requirements. There are reports from rural branches that customers are being given less amount against their requested amount.”

According to some reports there has been shortage of ₹2,000 and ₹500 notes. In some districts across the state, ATMs are yet to be calibrated for ₹200 notes.

Criticising the government policy on going digital, Singh said, “The government wants people to go digital, but most of them are not aware of the process. The people living in the village are not at all able to go digital. For marriages and other functions, people need hard cash.”

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