The government’s decision to demonetise notes of higher denomination has hit college students very hard. Many colleges have outstation students who stay in hostels or as paying guests (PG). These students, who have very little cash of lower denomination, are finding it difficult to make ends meet, with even a cup of tea or an autorickshaw ride becoming difficult for many.
“I was up early on Monday morning and went to four ATMs. During the day, we don’t even get to stand in queues owing to lectures and by evening all ATMs are running dry,” said Akshit Pandey, a student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Pandey and his two roommates have now decided to bunk lectures on Wednesday and stand in queues at three different ATMs for cash. “We barely have money to travel now and need money to buy vegetables and milk. PayTM doesn’t come to rescue everywhere,” he said.
For those living in hostels, the problem is still under control as in many cases their hostel stay and food is paid for at the beginning of the academic year. But for those living in private accommodation, some students have also started pooling in money for their friends who don’t have families in the city. “We can easily get through the day with Rs50, so I have been covering for my friend as of now. She’ll return the money once she manages to withdraw cash,” said Sanchita Parikh, a student of Mithibai College, Vile Parle.
The worst hit are those who are not from the city. Many are getting food on credit at their college canteen. “We are equally helpless because not just students but the staff too is running out of money as we can’t even bunk lectures to stand in line to withdraw money for day to day expenses,” said Manju Nichani, principal of KC College, Churchgate.
Looking at the plight of students, the management of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay on Friday last week sent out an email to all students telling them that use of debit and credit cards will be allowed on the campus till the problem is resolved. “There are several shops and canteens on our campus and students will be allowed to use cards for payment. We also have an ATM on campus which caters to IIT-B students and staff only so that too has been helpful,” said Falguni Banerjee Naha, the institute’s PRO.