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Note ban pushing labourers towards starvation: Rai

Demonetisation has “severely affected” daily wage labourers, many of whom are staring at “starvation”, 

Delhi Labour Minister Gopal Rai on Friday wrote to PM Narendra Modi.

Rai, a senior face in the AAP government, said shortage of short change currency and dip in sales have triggered the situation as most of these labourers deal in cash.

In a letter, Rai urged the Prime Minister to take urgent steps to alleviate their woes or roll back the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. “The worst affected are daily wage labourers. Usually, they are paid in cash by traders. Due to lack of cash and dip in sales, these labourers and their families have reached a situation of starvation.

“There are reports that some of them are returning to their villages. Most of them are not literate and have no bank accounts. They are also having to skip work even if they get any as they are having to spend a lot of time queueing outside banks,” Rai wrote. AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal demanded on Thursday that demonetisation has to be rolled back within three-days. 

Meanwhile, people continued to battle long queues outside banks and ATMs on Friday, struggling to get cash for their daily expenses, on the 10th consecutive day since the government announced the spiking of high value currency notes. People were seen standing outside banks and teller machines since early morning on Friday to get cash or deposit or exchange the now spiked Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. 

People expressed frustration and disappointment over the long waits. And many were angry because their previous attempts had failed because many teller machines were non-functional, including the ones inside metro stations, as they ran out of cash or developed technical glitches.

Most ATMs had boards of “No cash” and “Out of cash” on them. Even in the evening, anxious people were seen visiting ATMs to check whether the cash was available.

“Instead of cash, I’m getting receipts that there is no cash available in the ATMs,” a man said after trying several automated teller machines.

Another woman who was in dire need of money said: “I have only Rs 50 left in my pocket. If I do not get money I will not be able to purchase my daily needs on Saturday.”  
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