Cash crunch! How Mumbaikars struggled outside ATMs on a bank holiday
Mumbaikars rush to ATMs overnight after realising that banks are shut today for public holiday, but most have little success; booths still remain non-functional or are running out of cash
An ATM booth in Goregaon sums up the situation in the city. Pics/Bipin Kokate
And the chaos continues. With banks closed today owing to Guru Nanak Jayanti, there was a mad scramble to withdraw cash from ATMs the night before.
Mumbaikars in several parts of the city queued up for hours, but a large number of them returned home empty-handed.
In the western suburb of Malad, at least three ATM booths in commercial towers ran dry as early as 2 am today. A similar cash crunch persisted across the city.
Pregnant woman on her feet all night
Wait time: 45 minutes
Yasmin Shaikh is seven months into her pregnancy, yet she set off, scouring areas from her residence in Malwani to Malad in search of a functional ATM. She lucked out at Mindspace. After queuing up for 45 minutes — and expecting a wait time of another hour — she learnt that the ATM had run out of cash.
“My relatives and I spent nearly an hour to locate this ATM. I saw a large crowd and realised this booth was open and stood in line. Around 45 minutes later, people started yelling that the ATM had run dry,” she said.
Shaikh said she was in urgent need of cash for an appointment with her doctor today. “I need money for the fee and prescribed medicines. Besides, there are daily household expenses. During the day, banks are crowded. That’s why we decided to hunt for an ATM at night,” she said, hurrying off to find another.
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Wait time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Suresh Chaturvedi, a Goregaon resident and film editor, said he began looking for an ATM on Sunday night and found a crowded one post midnight at Mindspace, Malad. He was the 15th person in line when the ATM ran out of cash.
“I have been busy and couldn’t visit a bank. The ATM I found had a queue over 20 m long. But what choice did I have other than getting in line? Around 1.45 am, the machine ran dry,” he complained.
Chaturvedi said he would resume his search for another ATM in the morning. “I laud the PM’s move to weed out black money, but he should have had a systematic plan in place before enforcing new rules.”
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Link Road near Goregaon Sports Complex
Wait time: 1 Hour
Rajesh Kumar took wife Sakshi, and their 11-month-old daughter, to maximise their chances of withdrawing more cash. The sewing machine trader, who moved from Delhi to Malad two years ago, stood for an hour outside an ATM on Link Road near Goregaon Sports Complex when the machine ran out of cash.
Kumar said he and his wife stood in line since they have separate bank accounts. “Why can’t ATMs be refilled at night to prevent chaos?” Sakshi was worried about their daughter. “It’s nearly 2 am and she should be asleep at home. But we have no one to take care of her. So, we had to bring her along.”
Kamalatai and her family of four were jolted out of sleep by the din — people shoving and yelling while waiting for their turn — outside an ATM in Eureka Tower, Malad, around 2 am. The pavement dweller said the family has no cash and she has been seeing serpentine queues outside the ATM for the last three days. “I have heard that the government has banned R500 and R1,000 notes. I see people rushing to ATMs and banks. I am not worried because I have nothing on me. I have been sleeping here for several months. It gets very noisy, but I manage to sleep.”
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