Banks and ATMs this weekend are set to witness more chaos and even longer queues as cash-strapped people are all set to spend hours to exchange and withdraw money.
Long queues were witnessed at bank branches for the third straight day across the country. Thousands were seen impatiently waiting outside ATMs to withdraw money. Some of them jostled because of the prevalent chaos.
People including the elderly were seen in large numbers queuing up to get currency notes to meet their daily expenses. There were also reports of some elderly people collapsing while waiting in queues for long hours.
Many ATMs, which reopened four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation of two higher value currency notes, ran out of cash in few hours, leaving people frustrated.
A lot of the ATMs of the 2 lakh ATMs across the country are still non-functional.
Frustrated people complained of the lack of infrastructure and preparedness for the note exchange programme.
According to bankers, the situation is unlikely to change for some more time, may be another 8-10 days.
Bankers also expressed their apprehension of the crowd becoming unruly. They called for more security arrangements to manage the swelling crowds.
Reports of chaos and scuffle at bank branches and ATMs streamed in from different parts of the country on Friday. There were also reports of heated exchanges between hassled customers and overworked bank officials at several branches.
Taking into consideration, the inconvenience faced by people, the government extended use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for paying household utility bills, fuel, taxes and fees as well as purchases from co-operative stores for another 72 hours until November 14.
Chaos and panic began on Tuesday night at 8 pm when Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation announced that the then existing ₹ 500 and ₹ 1000 currency notes were going to be scrapped in four hours. The announcement left many people in a state of panic as all the higher denomination notes were made invalid.
(With inputs from PTI)