New Delhi: People in the national capital and adjoining Noida and Gurugram satellite towns continued to suffer the pangs of cashlessness on Thursday -- the 44th day of demonetisation -- as most of the ATMS in the region remained dry.
Scores of people IANS spoke to said they have been visiting one ATM after the other to get their hands on some cash to meet their daily expenses but had to return empty-handed.
"I left home at 6.30 (in the morning) with my father's debit card and visited at least 12 ATMs in Rohini area. All of them had no cash," Rohit Tomar, a student in Rohini Sector 24, told IANS.
Tomar said he had to pay fee to his private tutor "and obviously my sir (the teacher) doesn't have a card (swiping) machine to go cashless".
Hari Punjabi, a Delhi University student, had a similar story to share even though he has shifted to partial cashlessness by installing eWallet Paytm on his iPhone.
"You know you cannot buy everything by virtual payments, man. You need cash to buy small things like a cup of tea or a cigarette," Punjabi said.
He said he roamed around for about two hours in Noida in search of an ATM with cash and he found none.
"I have been out of cash since last week now. I am using Paytm and my debit card for payments, but unfortunately for using those cards, I always need mobile internet and at many places the network is not too strong," he shared another problem one faced with going cashless.
Walnut, a mobile application to track ATMs with cash, showed most of the ATMs in Delhi and national capital region coloured grey, which means there was no cash in them. Very few ATMs on the application flashed green -- meaning the machine was loaded with money.
However, some ATMs on the application were orange which meant they were about to exhaust the cash.
Amid ATMs running dry, there was no end in sight to cashlessness pain across India 44 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced that the government was spiking Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, ostensibly to curb black money, corruption and terror funding.
Modi had appealed to people to stay calm and had asked for 50 days to solve the crisis. But people were mostly upset as they said there were no signs of the situation getting better with only one week left before the Prime Minister's deadline to ease the situation ends.
"I used to travel in auto rickshaws but now I am forced to spend more and use cabs which accept payment through cards," Rohini Bhatia, an HR Manager with a publishing company in Gurugram, told IANS.
The cash crunch has also affected people who have migrated to the region for work or studies and are living in rented accommodations.
"I had to make payments to many people, including my landlord. I had to beg him to accept the payment in cheque. But for many other others things I am in debt. I am buying grocery on credit," said Insha Khan from Bihar who lives in south Delhi's Malviya Nagar.
"I go out every evening after my office hours to find an ATM with cash. But now it looks like it is impossible as I have failed every time," she said.
An IANS correspondent went around Laxmi Nagar area in east Delhi and found only two out of nearly 20 ATMs with cash. There were long queues outside the money dispensers.
"It is very rare to find an ATM with cash at first. And whenever there is any, there are long queues and by the time my turn comes it runs out of cash," said Rajat Chaudhary, a government employee, in Noida.