Kolkata continues to queue at banks, ATMs run dry

Kolkata : People at ATMs, more than at bank offices, in Kolkata felt dejected as they first queued up for long hours and then returned empty-handed as no cash was vended out on the first Monday after December pay day.

Be it Kalikapur, Southern Avenue, Elgin Road, or Dhakuria, the ATM machines mostly became dry shortly after being refilled due to the lopsided demand-supply equilibrium.

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“I am walking from an ATM in Dhakuria to Ruby and none of the ATMs that I checked while walking this long stretch has any money,” S.K. Saifuddin said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said the government will try and help the bereaved family of 52-year-old Kallol Roychowdhury who died while standing in a queue at an ATM kiosk on Saturday.

The family said they were struggling to collect money for the state government employee’s last rites due to cash crunch that has engulfed the nation after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic November 8 decision.

Roychowdhury’s demise followed two such deaths in the districts of south Bengal. Rabin Mukherjee (73) and Bishhodeb Naskar (80) were both pensioners and collapsed in the queue while waiting to withdraw their monthly pension.

“This is unprecedented and such incidents have scared us also. Our sons and husbands stand in queues as well. To run the family, you need cash in hand for day-to-day chores. At the start of the month, you need a lot of cash. I have been standing in front of the bank for some time, and at my age it’s not easy,” Nivedita, a 72-year-old pensioner, said in Tollygunge.

A middle-aged government employee painted a slightly different picture near Hazra road.

“As we near the end of the month, problems will ease. I reached the bank around 11 a.m. and found the queue less than what it was a few days ago. I am sure with the central government promising re-calibration at all ATMs, the tensions will ease out,” he said.