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No Cash to Celebrate, PMC Bank Depositors Stare at a Dark Diwali

“We have no money for daily necessities, how do we celebrate Diwali?” ask PMC Bank depositors.

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Camera: Ankita Sinha

Video Editor: Veeru Mohan Kishan

No lamps, no sweets and no festivities – Celebrating Diwali is not even an option for thousands of PMC Bank depositors. With the RBI capping the withdrawal limit at Rs 40,000, anxious depositors have been fighting to make ends meet.

“Diwali is here, and I have two daughters who got married and we have to give gifts and sweets to the in-laws. Now, we can’t do that anymore. Generally, we do a lot of shopping during this time. We buy new curtains, bed sheets and a lot of other things. This time, we have not bought anything for our home. Forget about us, we have not even bought anything for our girls.”
Sudha Sharma, PMC Bank depositor 

With medical bills raking up, 60-year-old Raju Sharma and his wife Sudha, are now trying to borrow money from relatives to meet their expenses.

“I have an FD of Rs 15 lakh there, Rs 10 lakh belongs to me and Rs 5 lakh to my wife, who is also a senior citizen. We get a quarterly interest of 8 percent from that, which is Rs 30,000. This, plus my wife’s income from taking tuition of Rs 15,000 which is Rs 45,000 in total is what we get to run our home. Now because of this, our monthly income is just 15,000, which is difficult to make do with. How do we survive with Rs 40,000 in six months when our monthly expenditure is so much?” he said.

Meanwhile, fear of defaulting on her daughter’s education loan has been giving Pooja sleepless nights.

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“To pay off big loans, we need to withdraw huge amounts for the EMIs. Due to this, we have to pay higher interest. Secondly, our shop’s current account is there. Our daily transactions are stuck. My daughter is studying in the US. We send her money from here that comes from these transactions, which has become a problem. Now, we have to borrow money from people around us. It has become very problematic since even though we have money, we don’t have any.”
Pooja Gurbani, PMC Bank depositor 

Even businesses have taken a beating due to restrictions imposed on the fraud-hit bank. Barkha Rajpal runs a beauty salon on a rental property in Mumbai’s Mulund area. Bounced cheques to her landlord and a frozen account are not her only worry.

“Diwali time is the start of season time and during this time, we get many customers but nowadays in this area, most of the people have accounts in PMC and they don’t have money. So, there is a fall in business. Also, people who have salary accounts use swipe machines (debit and credit cards). We have a swipe machine that is again connected to PMC.”
Barkha Rajpal, PMC Bank depositor 

Even as they latch on to RBI’s promises, PMC Bank depositers are staring at a dark Diwali this year.

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