Months after demonetisation, many ATMs continue to display 'NO CASH' boards. ATMs are running out of cash or are not refilled as scheduled in many parts of the country. While the citizens are being inconvenienced, bank authorities claim that the situation is the result of changes in logistics of cash transfer to ATMs. SBI, for example, has cancelled its contract with private logistic companies to refill ATMs.
"Following incidents of theft and mismanagement, SBI has stopped outsourcing ATM cash management to private firms. The banks have been asked to link the ATMs directly to their nearest branch. The staff of the branch are taking care of refilling the ATMs. While refilling is not the challenge, linking the ATMs to the branch is taking time," said the manager of an SBI bank.
She also added that the number of ATMs is overwhelming and in cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi the linking of ATMs is nearing completion. "The situation will ease out in less than a month," she added. With no private agency to shift cash from vaults to ATMs, the bank staff now have additional responsibility of the same. This situation is, however, limited to SBI banks.
While most believe that ATMs are not being refilled with cash either due to low supply of currency or to push digital payments, bank officials claim that there has been no shortage of currency. "The treasury has been supplying cash in all legal denominations as usual. We have not faced any shortage of cash. The regular amount set aside for refilling ATMs have also not gone down. There is not issue with supply but the change in logistics in proving to be a challenge," said the manager of another bank.
Whatever the reason, ATMs running out of cash are leaving citizens angry and helpless. With the banks levying additional charges on every transaction after a specified limit every month, citizens are being made to run from pillar to post to withdraw their own hard earned money.