New Delhi, Nov 14 Mirroring state of affairs across the country, ATMs in high security Parliament House complex as well as top government offices like North Block, that houses Ministries of Finance and Home, ran out of cash within hours, leaving the high-and-mighty high and dry.
Cash crunch in many parts was quite severe as banks were closed in North and Western India.
The situation, as far ATMs are concerned, is still grim even though a task force under the chairmanship of RBI Deputy Governor S S Mundra was set up to expedite the normal working of cash vending machine.
Branches in the Southern India witnessed a huge rush of people for replacement and withdrawal of currency as weekly limit for withdrawal has been raised to Rs 24,000.
The average waiting period in queue in the Southern and Eastern part of India was not less than 4 hours and people were seen queueing up with the day break at branches.
Many branches also reported cash shortages compelling people to return empty handed after waiting in the queue for long. Faced with cash crunch for meeting daily needs are making people frustrated and falling prey to black marketeers.
Getting cash-strapped with each passing day, people did not seem impressed with the government's last night decision to increase the weekly and daily withdrawal limit from banks and ATMs.
"This is becoming unbearable now. How long can we afford to be in the queue to get money which we toiled to earn. My family is on the verge of starvation," said Damodar Kamble, who tried his luck at an ATM in suburban Mumbai.
The rationing of valid currency notes through bank branches is taking toll on small businesses too in the semi-urban and rural area as supply is getting choked due to cash shortage.
Taking cognisance of the hardship faced by small traders, the government has decided to increase the cash withdrawal limit to Rs 50,000 per week.
"Considering the cash availability, (for) the business entity having current account for past three months, the limit has been increased to Rs 50,000 per week to pay wages and meet sundry expenses," Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said.
In order to ease cash situation, the government has formed a team of seven joint secretaries to monitor on regular basis the shortage of the currency.
Each joint secretary has been assigned 3-4 states and banks for constant monitoring of currency supply situation and make action plan, Das said.