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Despite Arun Jaitley's Assurance, ATMs Run Dry in UP's Rural Areas

A visit to areas surrounding state capital Lucknow shows how banks have put up a sign stating that the ATM is out of order. Even guards posted outside the ATMs are giving vague excuses to customers.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:April 18, 2018, 1:43 PM IST
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Despite Arun Jaitley's Assurance, ATMs Run Dry in UP's Rural Areas
Photo for representation. (Reuters)
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Lucknow: The cash crunch in rural area ATMs continues to be poor, despite Tuesday’s assurance from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

A visit to areas surrounding state capital Lucknow shows how banks have put up a sign stating that the ATM is out of order. Even guards posted outside the ATMs are giving vague excuses to customers.

In Kuroli village near Barabanki, just 25 kilometres from Lucknow, people are coming in from as far as 10 kilometres in search of a working ATM.

Sarvesh Kumar (30) who came to an ATM on his bike said he had no option but go back home since the cash dispensing machine was not working. “I have no money in my pocket and I have been to three ATM’s in the radius of 10 kilometres but there is no cash anywhere. I had to buy groceries and vegetables but now I will have to look for some alternative arrangement. I somehow got petrol in my motorcycle as the pump accepts card but what about the Sabzi Mandi? Who will take card there?” said Kumar.

When News18 enquired about the ATM, the guard present was quick to give us an excuse that the sensor of the machine was out of order. However, a shopkeeper next to the ATM revealed that the machine was fed cash only once a month and even that had not been done for quite a few days now.

Moving a bit more towards Barabanki, an ATM next to the State Bank of India branch had a long queue outside it, indicating that this was indeed a working machine. However, a few kilometres away, near Barabanki railway station, a standalone machine drew blanks despite a sign which claimed that cash was available.

Finding no guard at the ATM we asked a shopkeeper nearby and got the same answer, “Don’t go by the sticker, the ATM has been dry for the last few days.”

On the way to Dewa, which houses the famous shrine of Haji Waris Ali Shah, there is a small hatchet known as Sumaiyya Nagar. An SBI branch with an ATM on the deserted road is the destination any villager in six-kilometre radius visits. A student named Akash, who had come to withdraw money from the machine said, “This is my third day and still there is no cash. Every day, I am told that the machine is not working. Now, I will have to go Barabanki to withdraw money. This is a huge problem, this is the only ATM within a six-kilometre radius and it’s defunct.”

Another customer Virendra Kumar, who had travelled seven kilometres to withdraw money said, “There is no money in any of the ATMs from the last three days. I will have to borrow money from someone as I am left with no money in my pocket.”

Another customer, Vinod Kumar Goswami, said he would now be coming with his cheque book to withdraw money. “The main problem is that this is the marriage season. The kids’ school fees also have to be submitted soon. I have been to many ATMs and mostly all of them are out of order,” said Goswami.

A guard posted at the ATM immediately walked up to us and gave an explanation as to how the machine stopped working in the morning and that there was sufficient cash present. “There is cash but the machine has stopped working as someone tried to withdraw more money than what is permitted,” said the guard.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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