If the immediate effect of demonetisation was public outcry for getting money in exchange of invalid currency notes, the partial effects like queuing at banks and post offices for change, huddling up in front of ATMs, have started to appear.
In two separate incidents, police arrested five persons who were carrying invalid currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 in Darjeeling and North Dinajpur and recovered Rs 2.5 crore.
Meanwhile the scene was more bizarre in Kolkata where police found two sacks full of invalid Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, but they were torn up and mangled.
The Darjeeling police caught a person red-handed when he was trying to escape with two bags containing hard cash of Rs 90 lakh.
Nirmal Agarwal, a resident of Bihar’s Kishangunj was carrying old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 which were kept in two separate bags.
Soon after his arrest, police started to interrogate him but found Agarwal’s reasons were self contradictory.
“We’ve arrested him near the Rathkhola area where he was stopped on his journey to North-east India. His car had West Bengal number plate, but he argued that he was coming from Bihar. He had changed the car,” said Darjeeling Police Super, Amit Kumar Javalgi.
However, in another incident at Raiganj, police stopped a speeding car on the National Highway 34, and arrested four persons.
They were carrying Rs 1.6 crore, all in the denominations of Rs 1,000. Sadhan Roy, Madan Chando and Sanjoy Burman who were coming from Kolkata with those notes, were arrested.
Passers-by were shocked at Kolkata’s Gold Green when they saw two sacks of invalid Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 inside a garbage vat.
The notes were cut into several pieces and distorted and jumbled up in those sacks.
“The offenders seem to have destroyed these note and thrown the sack here,” a police officer from Jadavpur police station said.
It should be recalled that sacks full of burnt notes were found in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh a day after Prime Minister announced plans of demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations of notes in a bid to weed out black money from the economy.
The sacks full of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were reportedly burnt by workers of a company on Parsa Kheda road at CB Ganj in Bareilly. Police said that the notes were damaged, cut and then burned and added that they have taken over the remains of the currency and have informed Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
The black hoarders and hawala operators reportedly burnt down 450 crores as there was no option left for them in Mumbai. They panicked and burnt the money and some of them had also thrown them away in roadside vat after destroying them.
Workers in a fix as factory owners pay them with abolished notes
Workers of many factories are facing immense trouble as their employers gave weekly payment on Saturday in denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Considering it as an easy way out to utilise their “black money” a section of factory owners had forced their employees to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
The workers who depend completely on the weekly payment to buy food and essential goods for their family members were confused and finally took the money.
There were a very thin percentage of workers who had refused to take the payment.
The employees were asked to take the demonetised notes and to get it exchanged from the bank.
A worker of a factory at Dasnagar in Howrah said that they had initially protested against the payment in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
Instead of agreeing to their demand, the employer said that it would not be possible for him to give the payment this week and if the situation persists, then the next week’s payment may also get delayed.
A rough calculation by the worker revealed that there were around 22 people who had received weekly payment on Saturday evening.
Each of them had received around Rs 2,000 and all were Rs 500 notes.
“That means my company had managed to use 88 notes of Rs 500 denomination. I feel it was not possible for him (employer) to deposit them in bank to get notes of lower denominations. Thus he distributed it among the workers,” the worker said.
Now the workers have to bear the pain of standing in queues for hours outside the Branch of a bank to get it exchanged.
“The entire day of mine has gone wasted standing in queue to exchange the notes. Now I will go to a shop and buy the essential goods” he said.
Similar tactics have been taken up by a section of factory owners in some parts of the state.
Their employees cannot move to any competent authority seeking help as they have to continue working in the same factory.
However, the workers are apprehending that their next week’s payment may get delayed as the employer may put forward the excuse of failing to withdraw more than Rs 20,000 from an account in a week.
“So I asked the local shopkeeper to give me the essential goods for a week in credit if he doesn’t get his payment on next Saturday,” the worker said.
Scarcity of new notes: Nursing home refuses to release mother, newborn
No one could have guessed that demonetisation would take such a bizarre turn that a private nursing home would refuse to release a mother and her newborn.
The incident took place at Raiganj, where the helpless father had gone pillar to post, laid no stone unturned to release his baby daughter and her mother, but his effort went in vain.
“I am not penniless. I have money and dignity too. I wished to pay bill with old currency as I know hospitals were asked to receive it. But this nursing home refused to accept the money,” said the husband of the lady who was confined in the hospital with her child.
The family also alleged that they have proposed to pay Rs 22,700 by cheque as well. But the nursing home authorities refused to take it. Later the family members had gone to bank Branch to National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) to transfer the money to the account of the nursing home. But the bank refused to clear the NEFT as they have ‘lot’ of work to clear funds to the other customers.’
The helpless family begged before the nursing home to release the patient and baby, but the nursing home authority did not budge. However, Chandan Das, the manager of the hospital acknowledged the fact saying that he is only an employee there. “I have worked under the instruction of owner of the nursing home,” Das said.
The family then went to police. The officer went to the nursing home and requested the authority to release the patient.
However, some other patients have also faced similar problem in that nursing home.
“We are closely watching the situation. We will take steps if the situation goes beyond control,” a police officer said.
However, police instructed the hospital authority to take care of the infants admitted there in the nursing home.