Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Tuesday evening that India will be demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from midnight, in an effort to combat corruption and black money, sent citizens around the nation scurrying to ATM kiosks. Some wanted to deposit as much cash as they could before the deadline, while others were desperate to withdraw notes of smaller denominations.
In the Bandra suburb of Mumbai, a businessman walked into an ATM kiosk carrying a black plastic bag with Rs 25,000 in cash.
“I was supposed to deposit this money in my friend’s account whose relative is in hospital,” he said, requesting anonymity. “Somebody phoned [and told] me that the government is banning Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, so I thought I try deposit it.”
He added: “We are small people. I don’t want to get close to any black money talk.”
Shruti Iyer, a student in Mumbai, rushed to an ATM kiosk with two friends, but could not find Rs 100 banknotes. “We all had some Rs 500 notes with us,” said Iyer. “We will walk to some other ATM and try getting Rs 100 notes. If I don’t get them, I won’t be able to venture out.”
Other people had similar anxieties.
Wahid Quereshi, shop salesman
Wahid Quereshi went to an ATM kiosk of Union Bank in Bandra West to withdraw Rs 100 notes.
“The minute I heard the announcement I went to the ATM since I didn’t want to be left without cash. I punched in Rs 400 and did five transactions to get Rs 100 notes.”
Rameez Shaikh, student
Rameez Shaikh was shopping with his friends in Bandra went the news broke.
“We were shopping and suddenly the shopkeeper told us that he won’t accept Rs 500 notes. I wanted to withdraw Rs 1,000 but then I got another Rs 500 note.”
Dilshad Shaikh, housewife
Dilshad Shaikh needed cash for the treatment of her 16-year-old daughter, who is sick with dengue. She visited three ATMs in Bandra.
“At all the ATMs, I was able to withdraw only Rs 500 notes. My daughter is down with dengue and we may require some cash if she needs to be admitted [in hospital].”
Vishal Thadani, sales executive
Vishal Thadani deposited Rs 15,000 in an ATM kiosk in Bandra.
“I had just withdrawn a part of my salary for my daily expenses a few days ago. I wanted to deposit this money to make sure it’s not useless.”