Out of circulation: Dwarka calm, Indirapuram on the edge, while Gurgaon manages
Out of circulation: Dwarka calm, Indirapuram on the edge, while Gurgaon manages
Akhilesh Pandey
Out of circulation: Dwarka calm, Indirapuram on the edge, while Gurgaon manages
Photo: Kvtnews.com

Out of circulation: Dwarka calm, Indirapuram on the edge, while Gurgaon manages

The whole of Delhi-NCR descended into chaos when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced late on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would be rendered valueless from midnight. Social media groups of resident bodies were flooded with do's and don'ts to help out hapless residents who were left wondering what to do with their now-defunct notes. Frantic calls were made, ATMs were thronged, bill kiosks flooded and cash-deposit outlets swarmed. Some jewellery stores, too, did more business in four hours than they did in an entire week. 
 
However, after last night's frenetic activity, relative peace descended on Dwarka on November 9 morning. Residents and shopkeepers conducted their daily transactions in mutual cooperation. While residents avoided the now-defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for daily requirements such as milk, bread and vegetables, shopkeepers did their bit by offering to sell these items on credit to customers they knew well.
 
Sushma Bandini, a resident, said she ensured she had 100-rupee notes for her daily grocery shopping. “I visited the ATM at the Sector 14 mall yesterday to withdraw denominations less than Rs 500. It’s not such a huge problem — we can manage two days until the ATMs dispense the new currency notes,” she said.
 
Similarly, Gaurav Shukla, a customer at a milk booth, said, “I usually keep Rs 50 and Rs 100 for items of daily need, so I didn’t face much of a problem. I’m sure most people would have kept the lower denominations ready for these two days the moment they got to know of the news.
 
Suman Singh, the owner of the milk booth, however, admitted being in the dark about the development till late last night. “I was at my shop and unaware of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes being scrapped. Hence I was a little surprised to see almost everyone giving me 500-rupee notes till I shut shop yesterday. Even those who usually come with change gave me Rs 500. I accepted all the notes yesterday, and only got the news when I reached home at 11 pm,” she said.
 
“I have stopped taking the defunct denominations today, but at least I made double the amount I make every day,” she shrugged.

 

 

On the other hand, Indirapuram, in Ghaziabad, did not deal with the development so smoothly. Residents, left in the lurch, rushed to ATMs to withdraw 100-rupee notes while they still could, but had to wait in long queues.

“I went to the ICICI ATM in Ahinsa Khand 2 to withdraw cash last night, but had to wait almost an hour! The queue was never-ending,” said Biswajit Mohanty, a resident.

Mohit Dwivedi, a resident of Krishna Apra Garden, said small payments to vendors such as dhobis and autowallahs had become especially difficult. “This sudden decision will affect daily household expenses for the next few days,” he added.

Arun Rai, president of Jaipuria Sunrise Greens AOA, agreed. “This has led to a temporary cash crunch,” he said.

Another resident tried to use up the cash he already had by filling up his car’s petrol tank at a neighbourhood pump last night, but said the staff refused to accept the notes he offered.

Smith Ghosh, on the other hand, found himself unable to pay his rent this morning. “I live in Shipra Sun City and I had withdrawn Rs 8,000 last afternoon to pay my landlord. But with this sudden ban on the 500- and 1,000-rupee notes, he now refuses to accept the amount, as all of it is in the banned denominations.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Gurgaon offered a mixed response to the situation. Most restaurants, shopkeepers and cab drivers stopped accepting the notes. Chaotic scenes were common at local bus stands and the railway station. But grocery stores came up with inventive solutions to not disappoint customers.

Ashu Kumar of Romi Restaurant in Sector 14 recounted his experience. He complained, "I had to suffer losses to the tune of Rs 5,000. I had to let the customers go, as most of them were unable to pay the bills.”    

Like in Dwarka, in Gurgaon too, shopkeepers worked in tandem with customers to tide over the confusion and chaos. “I am accepting the defunct notes from customers, but am giving them signed slips, mentioning the balance amount,"  said Mannu Bhardawaj, a wholesale dealer of milk and dairy products in Shanti Nagar.

Another grocer, Anil Kumar, seemed apprehensive, though. He said, “I have never deposited any substantial amount in my account till date. If now, I go to the bank and tell them I want to deposit a lakh, won’t they question me?”

Most grocery stores stopped cash transactions owing to lack of small-value notes. They were lending items of daily use on credit to known customers.

People reacted quite positively to the unanticipated step. Amit Saini, who runs a travel agency, asserted, “Apart from making black money useless, this decision will also stem the menace of fake currency -- at least, for the time being. This step is a masterstroke, and we should be able to bear the small difficulties or losses for some time for a greater cause.”

However, there are others who questioned the efficacy of the measure in dealing with black money stashed away in overseas banks.