People thronged to street hailing PM’s announcement of demonetisation. It was the talk of the town. As usual the crooked minded ones portrayed the negative aspects of the decision, but the optimists debunked their charges by saying country needs such a bold move and bear with it.
On the first day of the exchanging old currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 from banks, the people stood in queues without any grumbling. They are
genuine people who wanted to get new currencies in lieu of the house hold
saving or kept for contingencies. Even they countered the criticism from the people standing with them. But in the subsequent days, there was no respite for the swelling crowd. Most of them came again and again to get new
currencies. Bank officials were at a loss to understand why same people were coming, some could count notes, or could not say clearly what was written in the forms. On a casual talk, it is learnt, these ladies and youth from slums or servant maids, drivers were standing for their masters and of course for a little commission. When warned that tax authorities would catch them, they blinked as if they were hearing the world for the first time in their life. “No sir, we were forced to do (by
politicians) and we can’t invite their wrath. They are giving something for us too” was the instant reply from them. Most of the political parties welcomed the move but fringe and caste outfits like Thol Thriumavalavan’s Viduthalai Siruthaigal opposed it.
The demonetisation has, as
expected, affected the common man. The biggest Vegetable market (Koyambedu) saw fall in prices as there were no takers. Otherwise busy and crowded Tasmac liquor outlets, wore a dessert look.
The positive side, the prices of essentials, cereals, vegetables came down which cheered the common man on streets. The bank staff did a
commendable job in the hours of
crisis. But there are some black-sheep among them. “They helped politicians, their friends, and relatives to exchange new currencies.” Maids, drivers and manual workers are in demand, with hoarders of black money attempting to temporarily offload cash in their jan dhan bank accounts. They offer these new-age mules commissions of up to 20 per cent as a reward for their
assistance. A servant maid, who works in an apartment complex in T Nagar, received an offer of 8 months’ salary in advance from her employer who was trying to siphon off fat wads of
now-invalid notes he found himself saddled with.
Jan Dhan accounts have started showing high cash deposits since demonetisation and a part of it is
suspected to be black money being laundered. Some ingenious employers, having black money, have reportedly used old notes of Rs 500 and 1,000 to pay advance salaries for anywhere between the next 3 to 8 months. —T S Venkatesan, Chennai