Several Indian states face cash crunch as note dispensers go dry

NEW DELHI, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Several Indian states are facing cash crunch due to non-availability of currency notes at automated teller machines (ATMs).

Cash crunch has been reported from the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, northern states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, central state of Madhya Pradesh and even the Indian capital.

Residents of Delhi are furious with the sudden cash crunch.

"I went to at least four ATMs in my locality. But all were running dry. I finally had to go to my bank branch to withdraw cash. This is utter inconvinience," said Nisha Ahuja, a resident of south Delhi.

"Are we heading to demonisation situation when there was rationing of cash and no currency notes available at ATMs? The Reserve Bank of India should soon step in to diffuse the crisis," said Rajesh Rai, another local resident.

Some opposition parties have hit out at the Indian government.

"ATMs were empty in November 2016. ATMs are empty now. And the only party flush with cash is the BJP: the people suffer," Communist Party of India (Maxist)'s General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted Tuesday.

Even Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has claimed that 2,000 rupee (30 U.S. dollars) notes are vanishing from the market.

"Where these notes of 2,000 rupees denomination are going, who are keeping them out of circulation? Who are the persons creating shortfall of cash? This is a conspiracy to create problems. The government will act tough on this," he said at a farmers' convention on Monday.

Though the Indian government has not yet reacted to the reports of cash crunch, sources said that the Finance Ministry has taken note of the non-availability of currency notes at ATMs and taken up the matter with the country's central bank.

"Moreover, the Reserve Bank of India has directed banks with surplus cash to help other banks facing funds crunch. Efforts are on to diffuse the situation," sources said.

"There is no need to panic as enough notes are in circulation," a bank official said.

The cash crunch at ATMs brings back memories of November 2016 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a sudden televised address to the nation, announced the scrapping of higher denomination currency notes, leading to severe cash crunch for at least the next few months.

The surprise move was part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings. "Black money and corruption are the biggest obstacles in eradicating poverty," Modi had said.

[ Editor: zyq ]


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