Hundreds of residents were scrambling to lay their hands on a heap of cartons in a locality here on Wednesday morning following rumours that some politicians had dumped a truckload of 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes.
At around 8am, locals were rushing to Maharajpur in Ghaziabad, which borders Delhi, to pick one of the around 100 cartons lying sealed on a plot of land marked for a crematorium.
“Everyone swamped the area to take home a carton, or more. There was a mad rush. Some picked up the cartons and headed home without even opening them,” said Farman Ali, who lives in the area.
Police rushed to the spot, calmed the crowd and opened the cartons. Much to the disappointment of the “booty hunters”, the boxes were a waste – discarded fabric strips and weaving yarn.
“They were probably left by some manufacturing unit or maybe stolen by someone and dumped here on Tuesday night,” said Raj Kumar Yadav, station house office, Link Road police station.
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening announced scrapping of 1,000 and 500 rupees bank notes from midnight, a move aimed at stamping out corruption and draining illicit cash from the economy.
Though the notes in circulation can be exchanged at banks till December 30, but they have seized to be a legal tender, reducing them to “worthless pieces of paper” for carrying out transactions.
With larger notes of little use, people are being forced to dig dip for loose change.
Six-month-old Rishika Pandey came to her parents’ rescue who were left with just Rs 330 and some Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
“We were trying to call up friends and even family members to ask for small notes to meet our needs ... when was saw Rishika playing with her piggy bank,” said her mother Shikha. “We suddenly realised that the piggy bank could have 100s and 50s.”
She wasn’t wrong. They found Rs 2,800, just about enough to see the Shalimar Garden extension-based family through for a few days. “We will repay her as soon as new notes arrive,” Shikha said. She won’t have to wait long, new currency will be available from November 11.