In Cash Hungry India, Many Line Up - But To Help Out

In Cash Hungry India, Many Line Up - But To Help Out

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People seen standing in long queues outside banks waiting to dispense cash.

New Delhi/Bengaluru: Endless queues, chaos and agitated crowd - scenes outside most banks and ATMs across the country as millions rush to exchange and deposit discontinued currency. But amidst the hassled crowd are some who have tried to ease this transition by helping strangers at a time of need.

To deal with the heavy rush, some banks have asked retired staff to help ease the load on bank employees - and they readily agreed.

"I was called by the regional head to go and assist one of the nearest branches, so I came here," said Shankar Rao, a retired employee of the Bank of Baroda in Bengaluru.

"Yes, as soldiers we should come, this is a war footing, so like yodhas (soldiers) we should help the bank," another retired employee MR Durg said.

In Delhi, volunteers from the Aam Aadmi Party or AAP were seen trying to bring some order amidst serpentine queues at banks and ATMs.

"Almost 2,000 to 3,000 (volunteers) will be there right now on the ground and we are trying to increase this number," said AAP legislator Saurabh Bharadwaj.

"We have been making lines separately for women. We have the forms here, as some people don't know about them. We are also giving water," said AAP volunteer Kalpana Prakash.

In Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad, people who are unclear on the needed procedures have been helped by strangers.

"Old people, women, kids and labourers are all standing in lines and the humanity in me came out. Those people who are worried and don't know how to fill forms, we have filled their forms on our own and made them join lines so they are not hassled," said a volunteer, Amit.

In a surprise announcement to curb black money, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared on Tuesday night that Rs 500 and 1000 notes will become illegal from Wednesday midnight, making them "worthless pieces of paper".  

Long queues outside banks and ATMs have been reported from all parts of the country for the last three days as people scrambled to exchange old currency notes and bank employees worked overtime to serve customers.

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