Kerla: In Kerala, where most ATMs across the state were reportedly not working this morning, two men died while trying to change old high-currency notes for new ones.
In Alappuzha, 158 km from the state capital of Thiruvanthapuram, a senior citizen collapsed at a state-run bank and died. He had allegedly been waiting in line for 45 minutes.
Before that, in Thalassery, 300 km away, a 48-year-old man identified as Unni who worked with the state’s electricity department died after falling off the second floor of the building where his bank was located. After an unsuccessful attempt at depositing five lakhs worth of the now-abolished notes yesterday, he returned to the bank this morning. The police is looking at whether his death was an accident or a suicide.
Like many other states, Kerala’s banks saw chaos and frustration today as people tried to collect the new Rs. 500 and Rs. 2,000 notes that have replaced the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency that was declared invalid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night.
The old notes, which were being counterfeited, have been removed from circulation to check black money and corruption. The new notes have security features that make them much harder to copy.
PM Modi’s initiative has drawn praise from several top India Inc bosses including Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. Banks re-opened yesterday and ATMs this morning after being stocked with the new notes.
The Reserve Bank of India today reassured that there is “plenty of cash” which has been sent to different cities and that ATMs which are not working today will soon be functional after they have been reconfigured to limit withdrawals to Rs. 2,000 per card per day. That cap will double in a week and then be increased further.
People can go to banks or post offices to deposit the discontinued notes till the end of the year. For now, they can exchange notes for a maximum of Rs. 4,000. Withdrawals of Rs. 10,000 per person with a limit of Rs. 20,000 per week are also possible at banks.