Banks seek po­lice pro­tec­tion Na­tional an­them must be­fore film as pay day queues get longer at all cine­mas: SC

CUR­RENCY CHAOS Firms give day off, pub­lic anger erupts at sev­eral places over short­age of notes

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Ab­hi­nav Ra­jput, Mahua Venkatesh & Suchetana Ray let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ Bhadra Sinha bhadra.sinha@hin­dus­tan­ HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­

The fears of pay­day chaos be­gan to come true on Wed­nes­day. Queues at banks and ATMs be­came longer, cash ran out quicker, and banks sought po­lice pro­tec­tion and put their own lim­its on with­drawals.

The govern­ment has put a cap of `24,000 on what a per­son can take out in a week and all of it can be done in one go. How­ever, on Wed­nes­day, banks in ma­jor cities were giv­ing out no more than `10,000 per per­son, and shrink­ing the amount to `.4,000 at some branches.

Still, sev­eral bank branches ran out of cash within hours of open­ing on Wed­nes­day morn­ing. “Banks have al­ready started see­ing more crowd. Since old peo­ple are not fa­mil­iar with net banking, they pre­fer com­ing to the branch,” said a bank of­fi­cial. This at a time when most banks are get­ting less than half the cash they need.

The re­sults are in­evitable in an economy where an over­whelm­ing 78% of con­sumer pay­ments are made in cash.

“An­gry cus­tomers, who did not get cash, locked up bank staff at a few branches in Tamil Nadu, Ut­tar Pradesh and Bi­har. The sit­u­a­tion is get­ting out of hand. We have sought po­lice pro­tec­tion,” said CH Venkat­acha­lam, gen­eral sec­re­tary, All In­dia Bank Em­ploy­ees’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

The bulk of the salaries get cred­ited to bank ac­counts.

But most of them have a cash com­po­nent. In the case of some, such as do­mes­tic help, the en­tire pay­ment is in cash. And those who get salaries elec­tron­i­cally usu­ally line up at ATMs to with­draw money for ex­penses, such as school and med­i­cal fees, news­pa­per bills, and other sundry pur­chases. So the good old Indian ju­gaad has come into play. Su­nita Sri­vas­tata, a 36-year-old house­wife liv­ing in La­j­pat Na­gar, has of­fered to buy her maid gro­ceries in­stead of pay­ing the `500 salary. Peo­ple line up out­side a bank to de­posit old notes in Mum­bai on Wed­nes­day.

The Supreme Court on Wed­nes­day asked all cine­mas to play the na­tional an­them be­fore a film is screened “for the love of the moth­er­land”, reignit­ing a de­bate over whether an in­creas­ingly as­sertive brand of na­tion­al­is­tic pride is sti­fling civil lib­er­ties.

The court banned drama­tis­ing, abridg­ing or mak­ing money from the 52-sec­ond-long Jana Gana Mana and said the na­tional flag, the Tri­colour, must be dis­played on the movie screen when the an­them is played. Movie­go­ers must stand up and all doors of cinema halls be closed at such times to stop peo­ple mov­ing around. Theatre own­ers have 10 days to im­ple­ment the or­der.

“These days, peo­ple read things that have noth­ing to do with na­tion­al­ism but don’t study ma­te­rial re­lated to na­tion­al­ism,” said a bench headed by jus­tice Di­pak Misra. “Univer­sal­ism is al­right but still Bharat is the epit­ome of cul­ture, knowl­edge... Gyaan and Vi­gyaan... peo­ple should feel that they live in a na­tion and show re­spect to the na­tional an­them and the na­tional flag.”

The or­der will likely em­bolden Hindu groups which are push­ing a stri­dent brand of na­tion­al­ism that many op­pose as just a means to curb dis­sent. It is also likely to stoke the de­bate over a resur­gent wave of na­tion­al­is­tic ac­tivism which has some­times seen fights break out over cricket matches and film stars.

It wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear how the or­der will be en­forced by the coun­try’s over­stretched po­lice, which will also have to worry about self-ap­pointed vig­i­lante groups try­ing to bring to bear the court di­rec­tive.

Just be­fore the BMC elec­tions, the Naren­dra Modi govern­ment at the Cen­tre ap­proved the third phase of the Mum­bai Ur­ban Trans­port Project (MUTPIII), which aims to boost the sub­ur­ban rail­way in­fra­struc­ture in the MMR. The project – with a com­ple­tion cost of Rs10,947 crore – is ex­pected to take five years to fin­ish. New rail­way lines planned un­der this project are ex­pected to make com­muters’ jour­ney seam­less, fast and hassle free, be­sides re­duc­ing the num­ber of deaths on tracks ev­ery year.

Ev­ery day, ap­prox­i­mately 7.5 mil­lion peo­ple travel in Mum­bai’s lo­cal trains with more than 2,900 ser­vices. The MUTP-III will im­prove sub­ur­ban rail­way con­nec­tiv­ity in the MMR spread in the districts of Thane, Pal­ghar, Raigad and Mum­bai. The project en­vis­ages the con­struc­tion of two ad­di­tional lines be­tween Vi­rar-Da­hanu Road, dou­bling of the line be­tween Pan­vel-Kar­jat and el­e­vated lines be­tween Airoli-Kalawa sta­tions, be­sides the pro­cure­ment of 47 new 12-coach trains.

Quadrapling the Vi­rar-Da­hanu line will ease out pres­sure on the ex­ist­ing busy dou­ble line be­tween Vi­rar-Da­hanu Road, which is a part of main line Mum­bai – Ah­mad­abad / Delhi route.

“The main line is al­ready over­sat­u­rated and there is no scope for sup­ple­ment­ing sub­ur­ban ser­vices on this line. Con­struc­tion of an ad­di­tional dou­ble line be­tween Vi­rar-Da­hanu Road will ad­dress the de­mand of com­muters in this re­gion”, an of­fi­cial re­lease said.


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