The lifting of restrictions on withdrawals has been effective from March 13, but the cash being received from RBI is not matching the demand. This is leading to ATMs going dry and customers are forced to go on a hunt around the city’s ATMs to look for cash. The no cash in the city’s ATMs is causing panic.
A resident of TPT Colony told The Hindu, “I went to the IDBI ATM at TPT Colony, the ICICI ATM, opposite the MRO Office and the South India Bank ATM near SFS School on Thursday but they had no cash. Situation is no different on Friday.” While off-site the ATMs keep running dry, the ATMs are not getting replaced fast enough.
The removal of restrictions on withdrawals after such a long time, while a relief, has still caused customers to withdraw as much as they can, causing inconvenience to others. They reportedly believe the government might impose the limit again at any given time. “The SBI ATMs at Seethammadhara and on the National Highway near Gurudwara had run out of cash on Thursday,” Srinivas of TPT Colony told The Hindu.
“The State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur ATM near Singh Hotel junction and the ICICI ATM at Ram Nagar had no cash on Monday. I visited ATMs on Friday also but to no avail,” told Satyavathi, housewife of Ram Nagar. “Many customers are in no mood to listen to us even when we tell them there was no need to panic and they could withdraw as and when required,” told a banker.
Visakhapatnam is the only city with a Specialised Currency Administration Branch (SCAB) in Andhra Pradesh. This unit receives cash directly from Security Press in Mysuru for redistribution to various banks. Though this unit belongs to SBI, the currency is distributed to various other banks too, in accordance to the instructions of RBI, who is custodian of the entire cash. The cash supply however, fails to match the demand. The SBI’s top priority at the moment is reportedly to fill cash in ATMs.