Jamshedpur, March 16: Most of the ATMs (automated teller machines in the vicinity of banks) in the city went out of cash as two-day strike called by United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) continued to hit banking services for second consecutive day.
The strike comes after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in the Budget announced the privatisation of two public sector banks as part of the government’s disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore. The strike affected nearly 350 public banks in the East Singhbhum district. Works like cheque clearance, electronic cash transfer, issuance of draft, money deposit and bank guarantee were disrupted.
However, bank customers continue to suffer due to strike. “This is not accpeted. The bank employees had deliberately squatted in front of the ATMs near State Bank of India main branch (Bistupur) to prevent customers to enter ATMs. We have no choice but to remain cashless,” said a resident of Bistupur.
While most of the ATMs remained cashless, the ones that had money witnessed a huge rush. People who were out of cash queued outside ATMs since morning to withdraw money. Longer queues were witnessed at Sakchi.
“All ATMs near my house were out of cash . Hence, I decided to come to Bistupur as ATMs here are refilled first,” said Rosy Barla. A large number of people who were already in the queues could not withdraw money due to the same.
“Going by past experiences we have seen that ATMs run dry of cash with only one day of bank holiday. Even if there is cash it is only of higher denominations (Rs 2000) which creates problem in changing it into lower denominations. We hope that banks consider these problems of customers and keep the ATMs filled with cash of mostly lower denominations – Rs 500, Rs 200 and Rs 100,” said Arunava Prasad, a resident of Sakchi.
Incidentally, there are nearly 500 ATMs of different banks across city and most of the public and private sector banks have ATMs near their banking premises.
Most of the ATMs in commercial centers like Sakchi, Bistupur, Kadma, Sonari and Golmuri have run dry. “Though we had asked our members against disturbing ATMs but few have held demonstration near the ATMs which might have inconvenienced customers. We will try our best to solve the problems faced by people tomorrow with separate counters and extra hour of works,” said UFBU official.