Cash logistics firms engaged in the recalibration of Automatic Teller Machines and retrieval of scrapped currency notes from ATMs in the weeks that followed the withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8, 2016 are now saddled with unpaid bills of up to Rs 110 crore from banks. A majority of banks have questioned the cost incurred by the firms between November 10 and December 30, 2016. According to sources, at least 90 per cent of the banks have deferred payments, stating that services pertaining to ATM recalibration and retrieval of old cash are not a part of their contract with the logistics firms.
State Bank of India (SBI), which is heading a task force on this issue, said that it is yet to receive any bills, which have to be routed through managed service providers (MSPs) who outsource the job of refilling to cash logistics firms. Some banks have deferred payments as they believe the service provided by the logistics firms during demonetisation were in national interest, said sources. A number of banks have referred the issue to their boards to take a decision, they said. “Even after a long gap of time, a majority of banks have not settled the dues of the cash logistics companies. Large amounts of payment have been withheld by the banks for one reason or other. Our boys have worked day and night for several days during demonetisation but now that the job is over, the banks are not very accommodative,” said N S G Rao, secretary general, Cash Logistics Association of India (CLAI).
According to sources, the total cost of recalibration and retrieval of old cash works out to Rs 5,615 per ATM. However, banks have been instructed by the finance ministry to pay Rs 4,000 per ATM to the cash logistics companies, sources said. “We have had over three meetings with a task force headed by the SBI that was set up to ensure that payments are cleared but not much has moved,” said Rao, who is a member of the task force that includes members from private banks and the cash logistics industry. “So far, only three private banks — ICICI, HDFC and Axis — have fully cleared the dues of cash logistics firms,”