Bihar splurges Rs 400 cr on Dhanteras

PATNA: Bihar, which was a Bimaru state only a few years back, is estimated to have withdrawn Rs 400 crore from banks’ ATMs in the last two days to spend on Dhanteras. This is double of what the resurgent state had withdrawn last year on the occasion.

According to available figures, from the 704 ATMs of the SBI in Bihar, over Rs 268 crore was withdrawn within the last two days. While over Rs 160 crore was withdrawn on the occasion of Dhanteras on Monday, Rs 108 crore was withdrawn on its eve.

As per the figures obtained from SBI, about Rs 60-70 crore was withdrawn from its ATMs in 2010 on the same occasion. “Last year, the total number of SBI ATMs was around 350. A significant increase in the number of ATMs has made it easy for people to withdraw money and they are also spending more,” said Umesh Mishra, AGM, SBI, corporate communication.

At the Punjab National Bank (PNB) ATMs, customers withdrew over Rs 27 crores within the last two days. Over Rs 15 crore was withdrawn from the PNB ATMs on Monday and Rs 12 crore on the eve of Dhanteras. The total amount withdrawn in 2010 in the same period was around Rs 13 crore. Currently PNB has 376 ATMs across Bihar against 180 last year.

Diwali revellers on a shopping spree withdrew heavily from the Bank of India ATMs across the state as well. Collectively they withdrew Rs 14 crore from the bank’s ATMs in the last two days. Long queues of customers withdrew over Rs 8 crore on Monday, while on Sunday a total of Rs 6 crore was withdrawn. In 2010, around Rs 6 crore was withdrawn from the bank’s ATMs.

At ATMs of various banks in the state capital, long queues of customers were witnessed throughout the day. The queues were witnessed till late Monday night as Patna joined metro cities in hectic buying spree. At several points ATMs ran out of cash.

“It was for the first time that I had to face problems withdrawing my hard-earned money. I have been standing in a queue for hours at an ATM in S P Verma Road. Before my turn could come, the ATM ran out of money,” rued Shekhar Suman, a business development officer.

“People’s purchasing power has dramatically increased in Bihar over the last few years. Its economic resurgence is fuelling economic growth yet further. But the per capita investment is still low in the state,” said I S Phogat, PNB general manager, Bihar & Jharkhand.

The amount of Rs 400 crore does not take into account withdrawals through cheques. “Over Rs 100 crore must have been withdrawn from the ATMs of other banks, including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, UCO Bank, Indian Overseas Bank,” said a financial expert.


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