Nedumkandam: With ATMs regularly running out of cash, life has become tough for residents of Nedumkandam and nearby places. Their woes are exacerbated by staff shortage at the bank branches. A good example is the SBI branch at Thookkupalam.
The ATMs of all banks went cashless recently for two days, leaving thousands of tourists also in despair. Local people say ATMs regularly run dry on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, affecting local businesses.
Shortage of currency has an adverse impact on construction and agricultural activities also. Farmers, who depend on cash transactions for almost all activities, are the most disadvantaged among the lot as they cannot buy necessary items or pay labourers.
Another hassle faced by local people is ATMs becoming out of order frequently. This is especially true of the SBI ATM at Koottar, which is non-functional owing to technical reasons for at least three days every week, forcing bank customers in Koottar to travel to Nedumkandam or Thookkupalam for carrying out transactions.
Meanwhile, customers complain that though service charges have been raised, banks are reluctant to fill ATMs with adequate cash to meet the demand. It is also noted that many ATMs give out notes of Rs 2,000 denomination only, which makes the facility out of bounds for students and daily wagers who draw amounts less than Rs 2,000 from ATMs at a time. Making matters worse, some public sector banks charge up to Rs 23 for every transaction done above the free limit.
According to bank authorities, the cash shortage was caused due to the reduced supply of currency notes from Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The cash supply, which had been hit following demonetisation, has not come back to previous levels. With the problem persisting, all sectors are still in deep crisis.
Read more: Idukki news