It’s national duty for ATM refillers
As banks prepare to throw open the doors of their ATM cubicles to
customers today after extracting old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes
and filling the machines with Rs 100 and new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes,
the cash logistic companies are working against odds to ensure that the
whole process is smooth.
Rituraj Sinha, president, Cash Logistics Association of India, said
the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) top management met the industry body and
asked them to take up the task as “national duty”. “He (RBI deputy governor) has called upon the cash logistic industry
to set all other issues aside and simply undertake this as national
duty,” he said.
According to the industry lobby body chief, two lakh ATMs would be
largely replenished with Rs 100 notes even as, simultaneously, the
domestic seven cash logistic firms were filling up ATMs with news high
denomination currency notes that have been provided to banks by the RBI.
Sinha said the biggest challenge was to predict how many people would land up at the ATM.
“Suppose an ATM traditionally has 125 transactions per day, I will
replenish it for 200 or 300 at best but I don’t know whether 200 or
2,000 people will come tomorrow morning,” he said.
According to him, the cash logistic firms were giving priority to
pumping cash into sensitive ATMs such as those located near bus stands,
petrol pumps, railway stations, pharmacies, hospitals and vegetable
He said the process of extraction of old high denomination notes,
which are one in four currency notes in the circulation in the country
currently, began late Wednesday night and about 65-70% of it was
Sinha said the association has set up a control room to track and monitor the progress of cash extraction and replenishment.
“Luckily, the RBI is very well-prepared with adequate currency notes
having been made available to the banks in tranches,” he said.
He believes the biggest constraint being faced by the firms was the inadequate number of vans and people to handle the cash.
“Cash logistic industry has got only 40,000 people and 8,800 vans
managed by seven firms. In my industry, I can’t suddenly hire people off
the street and give them money to do the job. There is a lot of
authorisation and verification to be done before anybody is allowed to
carry cash. So, we can’t increase capacity at a short notice,” he said.
According to Sinha, the existing industry resources, on an average
day, can replenish up to 25,000 ATMs against the two lakh ATMs that was
needed to be stripped of old cash and filled up with new notes.
Rajiv Kaul, CEO and vice-chairman of CMS Info System, expects
operations of ATMs to normalise and be streamlined to the new order in
the next two to four weeks.