Bank staff, customers stressed out

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SURAT: State Bank of India (SBI) has stopped distribution of new currency notes to its customers from some of its branches in the city because of cash shortage. Many bank officers said same situation prevailed in several banks because of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) inability to dispatch sufficient cash to them.

An officer of SBI said, “We have not got any money from the RBI today. We don’t know what our situation would be on Saturday.” The SBI chest in Surat had Rs1,200 crore with it as on November 19, but now is left with just Rs 100 crore.

The queues in front of the banks are getting smaller because people have now resigned to their fate. “There is satisfaction that my salary has come, but there is also a tinge of sadness that I am not able to withdraw it fully,” said Rajesh Patel, a government employee.

The situation of cooperative banks remained pitiable. South Gujarat Cooperative Bank Association Limited chairman Mukesh Gajjar said, “We received Rs 29 crore for 42 banks in the region from the RBI. We can’t give more than Rs 3,000 to an account holder. The RBI is not willing to tell us when it would provide us next supply of new currency notes.”

Bank employees are completely drained out. They have to make and accept payments and also open up new accounts. Demonetization has affected banking operations severely with clearing of cheques now taking up to six days. An officer of Central Bank of India said, “There is no change in the number of staff, but our workload has gone up like never before.”