Nellore: Traders prefer cash, not digital payments; ATMs dry

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Most ATMs run dry as ‘swipe machines’ gather dust.

Nellore: People are once again facing cash withdrawal problems. Most ATMs in the city have no cash and traders are hesitant to acquire swipe machines. This has been causing hardships to people. Soon after demonetisation last year, the official machinery jumped into action and launched a campaign to motivate traders especially retailers to buy swipe machines to overcome the severe cash crunch. They identified 9,000 retailers dealing with essential commodities in Nellore and Prakasam districts out of 28,000 registered with the commercial tax department.

After filtering they selected 4,500 retailers and prevailed upon them to install swipe machines in their outlets but hardly 500 of them followed the instructions in Nellore district.   Majority of popular retail and wholesale traders in groceries at Stonehousepeta, which is a hub for business in the region and hot favourite with consumers because of wholesale rates, bluntly told customers to pay in cash as they did not have swipe machines.. Most of them are against the machines since every transaction is recorded, exposing their volume of business, which is mostly carried out without bills, and forces them to pay taxes, a commercial tax officer said.

Lead bank district manager B. Venkata Rao attributed the severe shortage of currency in the banks and ATMs to the drop in cash supply from the RBI. He said that banks in Nellore district need at least Rs 100 crore per day but there is vast difference between the demand and supply now. Replying to a question, he admitted that the situation is no different to what public faced soon after demonetisation came into effect.

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