Mangaluru, Nov 14, 2016: It is reliably reported that General public, especially students in this coastal town, are bearing the brunt of the demonetization move to curb black money by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Nov 13, Sunday too, there were long queues of harried customers inside the banks and outside ATMs. An ATM on MG Road had currency loaded on Nov 12, Saturday 2.30pm which was exhausted by 7 pm. On Nov 13, Sunday, many people waited outside the ATM till 4 pm waiting for cash van to arrive. But they had to return empty-handed when the security staff informed them that the cash van personnel were not responding to calls. Despite this, many still waited hoping to get some cash. Most of them were students.
An interior design student from abroad said, "Being an outsider, I have to depend on ATMs for my cash needs. We (her friends) have been scouting for ATMs since 7 am without any luck." Cash crunch has become a stumbling block for many. All they are left with just Rs 22 in their wallets. "Two days ago, we had to search our pockets and we managed to collect Rs 130 in coins to have pani puri," ruing that the decision was made in haste and the PM should have thought about the common man. "It’s very difficult for women to stand in a queue where there’s lot of pushing and shoving," she said.
An administrator of a medical college, did manage to withdraw Rs 2,000 from the same ATM on Nov 12, Saturday and was waiting to withdraw another Rs 2,000 as he had to go to Bengaluru. A BCA student of a college, wanted to go to Kerala and needed money to buy ticket. Since they need to get back to their hostel rooms by 6.30pm, it was difficult for them to withdraw cash if ATMs were loaded after 7 pm.
A fisherwoman at Hampanakatta had to return home empty handed on Nov 12, Saturday as the fishsellers at fish dock refused to take her old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000. "Every day we go to dock buy fish worth several thousands and we pay them in hard cash, but due to demonetization, I had to return as they (fish sellers) refused to accept the old currency," she said, pulling out dozens of old Rs 500 notes from her clothe. It is a common problem of all other fisherwoman at the market and it is also difficult for them to take old currency notes from their customers.
"We need money to run our homes and we eke out our livelihood only through selling fish. Sometimes we receive old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from customers. We will lose our business if we go and stand in queue for exchanging our old notes," adds another fisherwoman.
Fish sellers blame that since bank withdrawal amount is limited to small amounts, so, it is not possible for them buy enough fish to sell. "We need at least Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a day for buying fish," said a fish seller. Others added that they have no change of Rs 100 and below denomination to give to their customers.
Future for hundreds of vegetable, fruits and other household merchants, who supply daily needs to the entire city is in quandary. "From Sunday onwards, I have stopped purchasing goods and will resume only when things return to normalcy," said a worried vegetable merchant.
A wholesale fruit merchant at the market said that they have given goods in credit to regular customers. "Since all transactions are done in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency, we have no other way out. For some, we have given credit and asked our suppliers to wait for some days to clear their dues," he maintains. Other merchants complain that they don’t have enough change to tender with customers.
"All customers are giving us Rs 2,000 note. If they make business of Rs 200 or Rs 300, we have to give them change in Rs 100 notes. How can it be possible when bank themselves don’t have Rs 100 notes," said another merchant.