Patna: Even as bankers acknowledge privately that cash deposits are dropping drastically and that Fixed deposits are being broken at an ‘alarming rate’, ATMs in Patna and other parts of Bihar are turning dry, according to local reports. This has been happening for the past two-three days. ATMs with downed shutters, “no cash” and “out of service” signs have become common sights.
Almost all the ATMs at the Rajendra Nagar roundabout, of HDFC, Corporation Bank, State Bank of India (SBI), and Bank of Baroda, were without cash on Wednesday afternoon, a local paper reported.
At the Malahi Pakdi area a cluster of ATMs were dry . The SBI, ICICI and Corporation Bank ATMs there were not dispensing any cash, and neither were the two nearby ATMs of SBI at the Chitraguptanagar area in Kankerbagh. The SBI ATM at Chitraguptanagar has been sporting the “no cash” sign for the last three days.
On Patna’s busy Fraser Road, the ICICI, Syndicate Bank, and Central Bank of India ATMs were without cash. Citizens were seen, was scouting for an ATM dispensing cash near the HDFC ATM near Rajendra Nagar roundabout. In the Boring Road area, a Bank of India ATM is often dry after 6 pm, say residents.
People are saying ” Lagta hai notebandi fir se aa gaya. (It seems the note ban has returned).”
The bankers admit there is a cash crunch, but the situation is such that almost no one is willing to speak on record, says a local paper.”Though the banks are receiving cash, the despatches are not sufficient to meet the demand. The cash being received from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) does not even meet one-fourth of our requirement; it is 1/6th or 1/8th at present,” a top SBI official said under cover of anonymity. the official said. “This is the reason we could not replenish our ATMs.”
SBI has more than 400 ATMs in Patna but almost all of them are running dry, the official admitted.
“The people are dependent on cash. Even if any ATM is replenished, it goes dry in an hour or two,” the SBI official added.
Asked when the condition is expected to improve, the official said: “I cannot say when the situation will ease out. We are totally dependent on the RBI. As soon as RBI provides us cash, we will meet the demands.”
The Telegraph reported that repeated efforts to contact RBI Bihar-Jharkhand regional director Nelan Prakash Topno went in vain. His personal assistant said Topno was busy.
J.P. Sinha, chief manager, Bank of Baroda, claimed that the bank’s 48 ATMs in the city are being replenished at regular intervals. However, when it was pointed out that the kiosks at the bank’s ATM at Kankerbagh are without any cash, Sinha had no answer.
Another bank official said: “The situation has come to this pass as apart from the RBI not meeting our requirement, the deposits by customers have dropped drastically and withdrawals from fixed deposits and other deposits have increased like never before. This is attributed to the confusion created among the people as a result of the financial resolution and deposit insurance bill.”
The bill has brought in a concept coined by the European banking crisis of 2008-09, called “bail-in”, where a bank’s depositors are forced to bear some of the burden of recapitalising the lender by having a portion of their deposits written off.