Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 1 – Serpentine queues were seen in front of state treasuries and banks — with the ATMs seeing less of a crowd — across Kerala on Thursday, the first salary and pensions day after the demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
With ATMs having a ceiling of Rs 2,500, the withdrawal limit in treasuries and banks has been fixed at Rs 24,000 a week and hence the rush was less at ATMs.
As a matter of abundant caution, additional police force was deployed in front of several banks and treasuries across the state.
State Finance Minister Thomas Issac said there was no issue as far as the government was considered in paying the one million-plus people their salaries and pensions, but the problem was there is a huge currency shortage.
Issac expected Rs 1,000 crore to arrive at the state treasury on Thursday, while the banks were also expected to get around Rs 1,200 crore.
“I am here since 8.30 a.m. and by then itself the treasury office is full and am waiting like everyone else. Yesterday (Wednesday) I tried to get some money from my bank account, but after getting a token, I was told the currency has run out and hence had to return,” said a pensioner waiting for his turn to withdraw money.
In Kerala’s commercial capital Kochi, the scene was much the same with people — mostly pensioners — queuing up before the treasuries and banks.
“We are told that the treasury will have extended working hours and will function till 6 p.m. Even though I and several others are suffering on account of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new directives, I fully endorse this scheme and we wish things will be better in the days and weeks and months to come,” said a pensioner waiting patiently for his turn to withdraw money.