With sole bread-earners in Tihar, families find it difficult to cope with demonetisation
A 60-year-old woman sits on the pavement of Gate number 3 at Tihar Jail stretching out and massaging her swollen legs waiting for a battery-rikshaw. Her son, who used to sell ice at a pavement in Ashok Vihar, is in jail on molestation charges for almost a month now.
When asked how demonetisation has affected her, she says: “He is the only bread-earner in the family. For the first time in my life, I stood in ATM queues. I give my card to the guard to withdraw money as I am unaware of the process. Tihar isn’t accepting old currencies. My legs are weak after I had chikungunya, still last night (Sunday), I searched almost all ATMs in Ashok Vihar but in vain. Even the lawyer is asking for the new currency.” She further tells the correspondent: “I had one Rs 2,000 note and submitted Rs 1,000 in my son’s card in Tihar. The woman next to me in line had an old Rs 500 note. A person there offered to change it for just Rs 300.”
Another woman sitting on a bench waiting for her turn to meet her husband dials a number to one of her relatives. As soon as the phone was answered she was quick enough to ask the person to give her a call back as she had only Rs 5 left as her mobile balance.
“My husband is in Tihar Jail for six days now. Life has suddenly become tough and I am managing on credit and havn’t paid my landlord still. My father brought some food to cook. I am finding it extremely hard to make ends meet. However, I somehow managed to exchange Rs 2,000 from a bank,” she says, flaunting an ink mark on the index finger.
The Axis Bank ATM near Gate number 3 of Tihar Jail was non-functional when the correspondent visited it.
Life has become hard for those visiting Tihar to meet their relatives and family members. “My brother is a murder accused and is in Tihar since September. After the old currency was demonetised, we are facing acute problems. We spend days standing in bank queues to get some money,” sister of an accused from Rohini narrates her ordeal while her mother instructs someone over phone not to take an auto as it would cost around Rs 170 to reach there.
“We aren’t accepting old currency notes in Tihar. After demonetisation, we have made sure all transactions take place in the new denomination,” says Mukesh Prasad, PRO, Tihar.