Visakhapatnam/ Kurnool/Guntur: Long queues returned at bank branches and ATMs across the state as banks re-opened on Tuesday after three-day holiday.
There were reports of arguments among those stuck in queue and with bank employees over the cash withdrawal limits at some places.
It was the first time banks were closed for three consecutive days post demonetisation. Hence, most of the ATMs were cashless, deepening cash crunch for the public. Shutters were down and ‘no cash’ tags were left hanging at ATMs.
In Vizag, the seriousness of the cash crisis could be gauged from the fact that a woman fainted after standing in the queue for about two hours outside a Canara Bank branch at Pedagantyada in Gajuwaka.
Tension erupted at two ATMs at Gopalpatnam in Vizag when some people got into a brawl following a minor altercation over breaking the queue and withdrawal of money multiple times using different bank cards. The local police reportedly rushed to the spot to pacify the public and maintain law and order.
Vizag MP, K. Haribabu visited Andhra Bank Seethammadhara branch and interacted with the people to take stock of the ground situation. Those gathered there told him that they were unable to withdraw money from HSBC ATMs with cards of other banks.
In Kurnool, pensioners and differently-abled were also seen standing in queue at bank branches and ATMs for long hours.
The government has made it mandatory to draw pension through banks. From early in the morning, pensioners thronged the branches to ensure a place in the swelling queues.
Around Rs 500 crore is being disbursed to over 3.10 lakh pensioners including pension for the aged, widowed and disabled.
About 445 branches of nationalised and private banks are functioning in the district. Out of 40 lakh population in the district, 30,000 are government employees and at least 10 times that work in private sector like cement factories, quarries, and farm sector.
The situation was no different in Guntur. Majority of the 850 ATMs failed to dispense cash.