On Day IX, common man’s plight continues unabated
Forty-year-old Jahanara Bibi, who is suffering from blood cancer, nearly fainted after chemotherapy after her family members could not give her food as the eateries and fruit vendors situated close to Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute on SP Mukherjee Road refused to give change.
This is one of the hundred incidents which the cancer patients who hail from semi urban and rural areas are facing since the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was announced on November 8.
The medicine shops refused to accept old Rs 500 notes and those who accepted forced the customers to buy medicines worth above Rs 400. The customers entered into a verbal duel with the employees of a medicine at Lake Mall. However, the matter got settled after local youth intervened.
Her husband Manjur Islam who runs a shop at Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas said: “After Chemotherapy, she became hungry and asked me to bring food. I failed to bring food and she nearly fainted. Finally, a sister of the hospital took us to her quarters and served her lunch. We need change to travel back to our village as the bus conductor told us in the morning that he was running short of change and wants us to pay the exact amount.
On the ninth day, the ordeal of people intensified after the banks refused to accept Rs 500 notes which were printed before 2005 and asked the depositor to take them to RBI for exchange. The ATMs ran out of money from the afternoon and like the previous days, the banks did not have any information when the refill would be available. People started queuing up in front of banks from 8 am, two hours before the bank opened. Bank officials expected huge rush on Friday and on Saturday as the banks will be closed on Sunday.
In Nabanna, a peculiar problem cropped up when some people received Rs 2,100 after keying Rs 600. The matter was brought to the notice of police. The bank officials came and transaction in the two ATMs remained suspended for the whole day.
Rabi Koley, a member of the task force set up by the state government said change had become a major problem in the markets.
“The vegetable and fish vendors do not have change and so they are asking customers to pay in round figure. If the situation does not improve in the next two days, the whole economy is heading towards certain disaster,” he maintained.