Although Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has advised the citizens to opt for paperless transactions to tide over demonetization crisis, the truth is that even card reading machines have crashed at many places and ATMs are running out of cash across the country. Reports are emerging from metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru that card transactions were being rejected due to system failure and server connectivity issues. On top of it, banks will be closed on Monday.
They may not necessarily be the ones suffering in the never-ending queues at banks and ATMs, but on Sunday and Saturday, when several such citizens faced the side-effects of demonetisation when they produced their debit or credit card at hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and multiplexes, and their transactions were refused.
The country continues to suffer the effects of cash going out of the system and very little to replace it.
The Times of India reported that a popular chain of eateries in Mumbai had its systems crash on Saturday evening. “I was at the chain’s Andheri outlet. When we called for the bill, the staff informed us that their systems had crashed and they could only accept cash. We tried using the ATM, but all we got was long queues. After waiting for almost 30 minutes for the system to restart, we finally had to give all the cash we had and paid the rest of the bill on e-wallet,” the report quoted Sana Mirza, a media professional.
The situation is particularly bad at post offices, where hundreds of people have queued up to exchange big banknotes at every post office that is already reeling under cash crunch. “Each staffer has been putting in up to 12-14 hours of work since Tuesday. Postmasters are themselves rushing to zonal headquarters to source cash for local post offices,” an employee of Kurla post office told TOI.
Similar complaints are arising in IT capital Bengaluru as well. Bengaluru resident Dileep KG was scheduled to pick his spectacles from store on Saturday. However, despite multiple visits, he has not got the glasses yet as every time he is being told that the card machine has stopped functioning.
In Delhi, when half of the ATMs were still out of service on Saturday, several merchants and consumers reported being unable to swipe debit and credit cards at locations in Delhi NCR because of “busy servers”, HuffPost India reported.
Meanwhile, transporters have warned of a grim scenario, saying the supply of essential commodities may be hit.
Traders have already stopped loading perishable goods in trucks at some places. Transporters have scheduled an emergency meeting for November 16.