With people facing “inexplicable hardships” due to demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday hit out at the Centre on the issue and asked the government to permit use of old notes till December 30.
The state’s sentiments and anxiety over the post-demonetisation scenario would be conveyed to finance minister Arun Jaitley, the chief minister told reporters at the airport here before leaving for New Delhi.
Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign trip soon after announcing the demonetisation, he said, “When the country is facing such a stiff challenge and people continue to suffer, the Prime Minister is abroad.”
“The demonetisation of notes has caused inexplicable hardships to common people. Nothing has come to an order yet. No government should take such an indifferent stand,” he said.
“People should be permitted to use the old currency for transaction till December 30, the last date to exchange notes, to avoid difficulties faced by them,” he said.
Vijayan also questioned the Centre’s claim that demonetisation was to check black money, saying there were reports that black money lobbyists had got prior information about scrapping of the higher denomination notes.
“Those who keep black money have no issues but common people are the worst hit,” he said.
The Union government should have made better preparations and put in place a proper system to ensure availability of enough currency for transactions before implementing such a crucial decision, the Chief Minister said.
He also alleged that ‘somebody’ close to the Union government, had received prior information about banning of the notes and got opportunity to take precautionary measures.
“Even after demonetisation, there are no issues for the availability of petroleum. Reliance is a major player in petroleum sector. Everybody knows the relation between Reliance and the Union government,” Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister said considering the plight of the people, the state government would extend the due date for payment of all service bills up to November 30.
The bills, including those of electricity, school, and water, can be paid without any fine till November 30, he said.
Meanwhile, state Finance Minister Thomas Issac today claimed that with the Centre withdrawing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, an “anarchy” like situation was prevailing in the country.
“There is total chaos in the country. People are unable to pay wages. With construction work coming to a standstill, the workers have no work and wages and their families are starving...,” Issac said in a Facebook post.
“Shops where I normally go for a cup of coffee are closed ... What is the point of opening them, is what traders are asking ... The traders have also decided to down shutters indefinitely from November 15. Several marriages have been postponed...,” the Finance Minister said.
Issac said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should call for an urgent meeting to find ways to address the situation.