Man blocks state highway as demonetisation woes persist
Traffic along Dinhata-Cooch Behar state highway in north Bengal was disrupted after the father of a girl, whose marriage has been fixed to be held on Friday, along with some account holders of a bank blocked the road alleging that the bank authorities had not given them money saying that there was not sufficient amount of money in the bank.
Satyen Gope, a resident of Bhetaguri, had been visiting the bank since last Thursday requesting the bank authorities to give him money as his daughter’s marriage, which is scheduled to be held on Friday, is drawing near. The bank authorities had assured him that he would be allowed to withdraw Rs 50,000 from his account. Accordingly, he visited the bank on Monday morning and the bank officials told him that he would have to wait for some more days as the supply of money was inadequate.
Gope along with some account holders blocked the road affecting traffic movement for over an hour. Gope said, “It is my money and I showed the bank officials the invitation card and explained them about the urgency. The bank officials are not doing any charity to me. If I have to cancel my daughter’s marriage, it will unnecessarily have an impact on my daughter and the entire family.”
The demonetization has taken a heavy toll on the revenue collection from international trade. The traders alleged that the state government had lost revenue worth several crores as there is no business on the Indo-Bangladesh border at Hilli. The traders of Mala, south and north Dinajpur export various items like onion, potato, apple and stone chips to
Bangladesh through Hilli border. The businessmen have to pay tax between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh as the hire charge for lorries. The fare is paid in cash. Now, as there is shortage of small denomination notes, state government officials refused to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. The owners of the lorries also failed to send new Rs 500 and Rs 2000 notes to the drivers and so the number of trucks is fast falling. On an average, 250 to 300 lorries export goods to Bangladesh using the Hilli Bordder.
The businessmen alleged that the financial loss incurred due to demonetization had affected all cross section of society.
Meanwhile in Kolkata, most of the ATMs belonging to nationalized and private banks ran dry after noon. Most of the ATMs gave only new Rs 2000 notes increasing the pressure on the account holders. Though RBI officials had assured that new Rs 500 notes would be available in the market from Monday only few ATM’s had the new notes.