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Delhiites hold on to the last penny, adopt thrifty measures to get by

delhi Updated: Nov 18, 2016 15:55 IST
Soumya Pillai
Crackdown on black money
Residents queue up outside post office at Patel Chowk to rxchange old notes.(Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

With long queues in front of banks and ATMs showing no signs of abating, and cash pile dwindling, Delhiites are forgoing small luxuries to manage finances.

“I have been waking up early to wash my car and iron my clothes before leaving for work. We can no longer afford to pay for them,” said Siddesh Kumar (46), a senior lawyer at the Supreme Court.

Eight days after ₹500 and ₹1,000 currency notes were demonetised, many like Kumar have started to feel the pinch.

Kumar, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase-1, says paying ₹30 a day for getting his car washed and ₹5 to get a set of shirt and trousers pressed would mean he would have to soon stand outside the ATM for a few hours, which he trying to delay as much as he can.

“My wife has ₹1,200 in hand and we are treating it like gold. On a regular day, we would not even think twice before spending that money in a restaurant or for a movie,” he said.

24-year-old IT engineer Radhika Sinha, a resident of south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, said the weekly market in her area wore an unusually stranded look on Tuesday.

“Even the ones who were there were buying what was absolutely necessary. The vegetables were also available at a much cheaper price,” Sinha said.

She and her roommate used up one ₹1,000 and a ₹500 note they had at the local Safal outletto buy paneer, kidney beans and several varieties of lentils.

“Both of us work late and there is no time to stand in ATM queues. We are managing with what we have. We will think of what needs to be done once our supplies get over,” she said.

Roadside vendors at Dwarka said the worst hit by this demonetisation are the fruit sellers.

“Vegetables are essential. So, people cut down on fruits. My regular customers who used to buy at least two to three kilos of fruits in a week, have either not bought anything or are managing with just half a kilo,” said Sushil Yadav, a fruit seller who sits at Mahavir Enclave.

Many residents are turning to e-commerce portals for groceries.

“I had never before ordered from these websites. It’s the only option I have now. It is convenient in these times, but I can hardly wait to go back to buying vegetables by touching and feeling their quality,” said Dr Sudha Prabhakaran, a professor at Ambedkar University.

Residents also complained that their schedule has gone for a toss in the past week. Thirty eight-year-old Ambika Sharma week was spent shuttling her children between school, tuition classes and dance lessons.

She used to send her daughters with her housemaid in an auto rickshaw, but now she has taken things into her own hands.

“On the first day when the announcement was made, my husband filled the petrol tank using all the ₹500 notes we had. I drop and pick my children up from school and then drop them for tuitions in the evening. On weekends, they also have dance classes,” she said.

Read: Delhi Police, IT dept conduct raids after sting ops on illegal money exchange