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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Card swipe machines stop working in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Those who made the switch to plastic money long before demonetisation drive, one of the aims of which is a cashless economy, have started feeling the pinch. They may not necessarily be the ones suffering in the never-ending queues at banks and ATMs, but on Sunday, and also Saturday, when several such citizens produced their debit or credit card at hotels, restaurants and multiplexes, the transactions were refused.
Meanwhile, the city continued to suffer the effects of cash going out of the system and very little to replace it. And while queues at banks and ATMs have only grown longer, people are frustrated that bank branches will be closed on Monday.

A popular chain of eateries in the city had its systems crash around 7pm on Saturday. "I was at the chain's Andheri outlet. When we called for the bill, the staff informed us that their systems had crashed and they could only accept cash. We tried using the ATM, but all we got was long queues. After waiting for almost 30 minutes for the system to restart, we finally had to give all the cash we had and paid the rest of the bill on e-wallet," said Sana Mirza, a media professional.

Rachna Dubey, a Thane resident, said she visited a footwear shop at a mall, only to find that its card swipe machine crashed. "I and my husband liked a pair of shoes, but when we reached the payment counter, we were informed that the card machine had stopped functioning. As we did not have cash, we had to leave without buying the pair," said Dubey. At the same mall, the card machines at the multiplex had crashed and several people had to turn back without movie tickets.

A visitor to a supermarket in Mulund found that her card could not be swiped and she ended up spending the currency notes she had withdrawn after standing in a long queue at her bank the same morning. In another case, at a fine dining restaurant in the suburbs, Sunil Roy had to swipe his card on more than one machine till it got processed. "There was a problem with the machines and connectivity with servers," he said.

The situation is particularly bad at post offices, which have never seen the kind of rush they are witnessing since demonetisation was announced last Tuesday. Hundreds of people have been lining up to exchange big banknotes at every post office, with meagre staff bearing the responsibility to authenticate each bill. "Each staffer has been putting in up to 12-14 hours of work since Tuesday. Postmasters are themselves rushing to zonal headquarters to source cash for local post offices," said an employee of Kurla post office. 
 Those arriving at ATMs were in for disappointment again as most machines were "out of cash". "It is the fifth day since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government announced demonetisation. We are hopping from one ATM to the other with the hope of receiving just twenty Rs 100 notes," said Ketan Gada, a resident of Bhandup.

Meanwhile, transporters have warned of a grim scenario, saying the supply of essential commodities may be hit. "We have got no respite from the government despite camping in New Delhi for the past few days. Our operational costs depend on cash," said Bal Malkit Singh of the All India Motor Transport Congress. Traders have already stopped loading perishable goods in trucks at some places. Transporters have scheduled an emergency meeting for November 16.
 Source :

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