[A heavy rush of people outside State Bank of India Malegaon on Thursday November 10, 2016 two days after Prime Minister Modi announced banned old 500/1000 rupee notes. (Photo: ummid.com)]
Ahmedabad/Mumbai/Malegaon: After waiting 36 hours, lakhs of anxious people made a beeline for banks and post offices on Thursday to exchange their Rs 500 and 1,000 notes demonetized by the government.
Long queues were seen outside all bank branches across India as several of them started dispensing new notes, while several others awaited the arrival of new notes.
Post offices were yet to receive the new notes and people who went to get their old notes exchanged were only given Rs 100 and Rs 50 denominations notes.
While many had filled up the special requisition slips in advance and attached the identity papers, others ran around frantically to get photocopies, where they encountered more long queues, before they could exchange the demonetized notes, IANS reported.
Most private and public sector bank branches were jammed with customers. In some places the air conditioners couldn't take the load and were either shut off or broke down. Others resorted to admitting groups of five to 10 people at a time.
Similar crowds were witnessed at ATMs which also opened up first time since Tuesday night as people rushed to withdraw the permitted amounts for their daily routine expenses.
While banks were closed yesterday to make preparations for disbursement of the new currency, in place of the demonetised notes, people were faced hardships in procuring them today as new notes had not reached many branches and post offices.
Whereas, people who got new notes expressed happiness after receiving them.
Some people were seen queueing up outside various banks in the city as early as 6 am to exchange the old notes.
"I ran out of cash to meet my daily needs. If I do not get new notes, I would be in big trouble. To make sure that I get new notes today, I have came here very early. However, many others were already in the queue when I reached at 6 AM," said A Patel of New Ranip, a bank account holder in SBI, Ahmedabad.
Similar queues can be seen outside almost all the banks in the city as well as other parts of the state today, according to PTI.
"We have no notes of Rs 50 or Rs 100 for daily use, have run out of it, so urgently need money. Which is why we arrived here early morning," said Suresh Dalal, who stood outside to withdraw money from the RBI centre.
Senior citizens complained that there were no separate queues for them and the banks opened late.
"Knowing that people have arrived here since early morning, the bank should have opened at least on time if not early. There is no separate queue for senior citizens," an elderly woman at a Bank of Baroda branch in Surat said.
In Malegaon, today being Thursday, weavers are struggling to arrange cash to make weekly payments. Long queues were seen in all banks including Stat Bank of India, Malegaon, Dena Bank, Camp Road and Bank of Baroda, Tilak Road.
In Bank of Maharashtra, people can be seen fighting with each other to enter the bank premises. The bank officials are allowing limited number of people inside for smooth running.
In some powerloom factories, the owners gave Rs.500 and Rs.1000 old notes with the special requisition slips to labourers and advising them to get them exchanged in banks or post offices.
"This has made life for us. We depend on weekly wages and converting old notes in banks or post offices will take too long", Arif Hussain, a labourer, said while talking to ummid.com.
He said he was already running short of cash and since nobody in the market is accepting old 500 rupee notes, it will be difficult for him to buy essentials this weekend.