Power outage hits banking ops in Chennai

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018

People waiting outside a bank in Royapuram, Chennai on Wednesday. - M PRABHU

Cash crunch adds to people’s woes

Travellers and passers-by on the busy Anna Salai on Wednesday afternoon would not have missed long queues in front of the ATMs on either side.

“This is an unusually long queue that I haven’t seen in recent times,” said an employee of a leading private sector bank, regulating the crowd at branch office and adjacent ATM centre.

Cyclonic blow

A quick chat with the people standing in the queue brings forth a litany of hardship they face in getting cash. And it is not just about demonetisation and the currency shortage but also the havoc wreaked by the severe cyclonic storm Vardah on Monday.

“It is a double blow. While ATMs have no money, branches don’t dispense cash because they say the network is down. We are unable to use the credit and debit cards either,” fumed a bank customer. This is a grouse widespread in Chennai. Network problems in several bank branches across the city aggravated the situation.

Frayed nerves

It has frayed the nerves of people already suffering power outages, erratic telecom services and dysfunctional ATMs.

Shops and other commercial establishments refused to accept payments through credit/debit cards, citing network issues. Bank officials blamed the situation on power outages while some branches managed to operate with generator power. Banks also blame the storm for delay in restocking ATMs and release of new ₹500 notes.

‘Only some banks hit’

A top official of Indian Bank, however, said that only some branches faced network issues, mainly due to power cuts, and most of the branches were functioning normally and dispensing cash to customers. Bank officials also blamed roadblocks caused by uprooted trees that hindered cash transportation. However, the situation began to improve Wednesday afternoon.

A top official of Indian Overseas Bank said the bank was about to receive new ₹500 notes when cyclone hit. He hoped that IOB branches and ATMs would be in a position to dispense ₹500 notes from next week.

Published on December 14, 2016

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