While people across the country made a beeline to the nearest ATM, after ₹500 and ₹1,000 currencies ceased to be legal, a few residents of Indirapuram decided to seek help from a higher power — God.
Arvind Pandey, a temple priest at Shri Hanuman Balaji Temple in Gyan Khand-1, Indirapuram, came to the rescue of four families in the locality on Tuesday night, soon after PM Narendra Modi’s in his address to the nation abolished the high value currencies.
Pandey received a call from Akash Agnihotri around 10 pm on Wednesday asking him to give smaller denominations from the donation box of the temple in lieu of high value notes.
“I am a regular at the temple and know the priest well. While my wife was stuck at the ATM, she expressed concern that ₹100 notes might soon run out. We did not have any ₹100 or below denomination notes. Hence, we decided to approach the temple priest,” said Agnihotri, who works with a private firm in Noida.
The priest was about to leave the temple when he received the call.
“I was unaware of the recent development. I received a call from one of our neighbours in the locality around 10 pm alerting me to the news. As it was Tuesday, a large number of Hanuman devotees had visited the temple and donated money,” Pandey said.
“After the call, I counted the money and there was ₹6,350 in the box — all notes were of ₹100 or below denominations. Agnihotri came in with three more residents and exchanged high value notes for change. I also took some change in place of ₹1000, which I had on me,” Pandey said.
Sudhakar Giri, a member of Shri Balaji Hanuman Mandir Seva Samiti, said he will deposit the ₹500 and ₹1,000 in the bank account of the temple association later. He said the donation box was opened in the presence of the members of the temple association.
“We distributed change for ₹1000 to four residents of the locality and one temple priest; I took some myself,” Giri said.
Meanwhile, at Sanatan Dharma Temple in Sector 19, Noida, the temple priests were anxious to know how many high denomination notes their donation box contained.
“Generally, we open the donation box at the end of the month, but we opened it on Wednesday to know how many high value notes it had. We found that there was around ₹3000 in the donation box in notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000,” said Sanjay Bali, temple coordinator at Sanatan Dharma Temple, Sector 19, Noida.