Bihar government deploys copters to fetch currency notes from RBI Patna

The Bihar government on Friday rushed helicopters to transport lower denomination currency notes from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s regional office in Patna to meet demands in banks and ATMs across the state.

Additional chief secretary and development commissioner Amit Khare said two choppers left for Patna at 2:30 pm to "bring currencies as loan from the RBI's Patna chest to Ranchi". Khare, who is overseeing the arrangements with regard to availability of cash in banks, said the helicopters reached Patna at 4pm on Friday and are expected to return by night.

In a written statement issued in the evening, the government said the step was taken after consultations with the state-level bankers' committee, to "somewhat alleviate the problems of citizens".

The ATMs of most nationalised and private banks in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dumka, Dhanbad, Bokaro and other parts of the state remained non-functional for a third consecutive day, despite the centre ordering its opening 48-hours after the scrapping of Rs1,000 and Rs500 currency notes.

''Adequate arrangements are being made to ensure that the cash is quickly transported to the banks, both in the city and far-off areas, at the earliest possible,'' Khare added.

Meanwhile, some ATMs opened in the Jharkhand capital today, but were unable to cater to the huge demand, leaving customers standing in long queues at the banks. The situation was similar in rural areas.

The state government, in consultation with RBI officials, had assured that the ATMs would begin functioning by Friday. They said most of the ATMs were closed today because of delay in reloading them with new currency notes.

State Bank of India (SBI) managed to keep some of its ATMs operational for a few hours in Ranchi but other nationalised banks, like Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Bank of Baroda and private ones like HDFC and Bandhan, could not operate due to shortage of Rs100 and Rs50 notes.

People continued to wait in long queues outside the ATMs that were operational across Ranchi, while others waited outside bank branches.

Currency woes across the country continued unabated for a fourth day today with most ATMs failing to re-open and the queues at bank branches getting longer.

As per the RBI timetable, ATMs were to re-open today after two days when they were re-stocked to dispense Rs100 and Rs50 notes.

But the RBI cautioned that it may take a while for banks to recalibrate ATMs. But once done, public will be able to withdraw up to Rs2,000 per card per day up to 18 November and after that Rs4,000 per card.