HT Image(ANI Photo)
HT Image(ANI Photo)

Demonetisation Day 7: Rahul attacks PM, says move initiated without much thought

The queues in front of ATMs were longer as people feared the machines will run out of money soon, a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the scrapping of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes to drain illegal cash from the economy.
By HT Correspondents | Hindustan Times, New Delhi / Mumbai / Guwahati / Kolkata / Lucknow / Allahabad
UPDATED ON NOV 15, 2016 10:49 PM IST

Thousands of people lined up hours before banks opened in towns and cities across the country, prompted by fears that ATMs would soon run dry.

The demonetisation drive entered its 7th day on Tuesday, but the rush at banks and ATMs showed no signs of subsiding. The government announced measures to check the multiple cash withdrawals by the same people from the banks.

Political rivals, however, hit out at the government, which was staring at a stormy winter session.

Below are the live updates:

• I am seeing on social media that BJP leaders are holding cash stacks in their hand. From where did they get this money? asks Rahul Gandhi

• This decision has resulted in massive inconvenience for the people. This needs to be sorted out as soon as possible: Rahul Gandhi

• Do you see any black money players in bank lines? There are only farmers, government servants and the common man: Rahul Gandhi

• Couple of days back, PM was laughing in his speech, then next day he was crying. He should decide what he wants to do: Rahul Gandhi

• Rahul Gandhi says the demonetisation decision was not thought through and it was based on one person’s thinking.

• Most economists I have met are saying there is no economic rational behind the demonetisation move, the Congress vice-president says.

• Rahul says potentially a big scam is going on behind the scenes, the opposition is united on that front. He alleges that the big black money players have been allowed to go scot-free.

• Mamata Banerjee calls on Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena to join TMC in Parliament to oppose the way demonetisation is being implemented.

• PM urges all parties to cooperate inside as well as outside Parliament on issues of blackmoney, corruption: Union minister Ananth Kumar

• Right hand finger to be inked for currency exchange, left hand for voting: PTI quoting officials who were clarifying about by-polls in states.

• Congress says demonetisation will have an adverse effect on GDP due to freezing of 86% of banknotes in value terms.

• Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav announces that 500 and 1000-rupee notes will be accepted for land registration till Nov 24th.

• All-party meeting in the Parliament ends.

• An all-party meeting is underway to discuss about the demonetisation drive among other issues. PM Modi is present in the meeting.

• Congress’ Kapil Sibal says ‘the arrogance with which PM spoke in Japan, shows that he is distanced from the hardships of people.’

• Govt calls for a Cabinet meeting at 6: 15 pm.

• Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah criticises demonetisation drive. In a letter sent to Arun Jaitley he writes, “release of the Rs 2,000 note has not solved the problems as govt has taken back the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes”

• Mamata Banerjee says she will meet the President on Wednesday, irrespective of whether other parties will join or not.

• TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and former J-K CM Omar Abdullah will also accompany Mamata Banerjee when she meets the president

• Long queues outside banks on day 7

• CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury says their party is not demanding a roll back, but govt should concentrate more on smooth implementation of the drive.

• West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee says Shiv Sena has assured that they will join her when she meets the President over the demonetisation issue.

• Supreme Court refuses to stay demonetisation of 1000 and 500-rupee notes, but asks Centre to file an affidavit giving details of steps taken to ease inconvenience faced by citizens.

• Concurring with the attorney general’s view that “there will be some collateral damage in a surgical strike against black money”, the Supreme Court sets the next date of hearing on the matter on November 25.

• Supreme Court asks Centre: “What more steps are you exploring and considering in relation to inconvenience caused to people?”

• West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee criticises the government’s move to check multiple withdrawals. “It’s a desperate attempt to start a black mechanism with indelible ink. This shows the government does not trust the common people,” she says.

• “There are by-elections on November 19. What’ll the Election Commission say about this decision to put indelible on prospective voters?” Mamata Banerjee adds.

• In a press conference in New Delhi, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das says action will be initiated in specific instances against those government hospitals and pharmacies which are not accepting old currency.

• On being asked about various videos of people showing the new wet notes losing colour, the economic affairs secretary Das clarifies: The new currency notes leak colour when wet, because that’s the nature of the paper the notes are made from. If your note does not lose colour, it may be fake.

• Sudden spurt in demand for salt was caused by unscrupulous people. There was no absolutely need for it. We’ve enough stock of salts and there is no reason for temporary surge in price or shortage. We are closely monitoring the supply of essential commodities: Economic affairs secretary Das.

• Religious places are urged to immediately deposit the money they received as donations in smaller denominations to the banks to increase currency. The government is keeping close watch on Jan Dhan accounts to check any sudden deposit of a large amount in them. Legitimate deposits will not be put to any inconvenience: Economic affairs secretary Das.

• PM Narendra Modi reviewed the supply of currency last night, for the second time in two days. To ease pressure on banks,a task force has been set up to look after shifting and storing of old notes: Economic affairs secretary Das.

• The benefit of the cash exchange has been restricted to a small number of people, since people are visiting banks again and again. Indelible ink like used in elections to be used in banks to prevent people from returning again to exchange old notes: Economic affairs secretary Das.

• Economic affairs secretary Das at the press conference says “We’ve been trying to analyse reasons for long queues. It has come to notice that same people are visiting the banks again at some places.

JDU’s Sharad Yadav gives notice for suspension of all listed business in Rajya Sabha to discuss “unplanned demonetisation of 500/1000 notes”.

• UP CM Akhilesh Yadav slams the Centre on the issue of demonetisation, says “This central government has given a lot of pain to the masses. People throw out of power those governments which trouble the masses.”

(ANI on Twitter)
(ANI on Twitter)

• PM Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi also reaches a bank in Gandhinagar to exchange her old notes

Heeraben Modi, 97, exchanged currency worth Rs 4500 from the bank and left. PM Modi had made an emotional appeal two days ago to cooperate in the swap of old notes with the new ones.

Kolkata | People started queuing up outside banks as early as 6 am, as they anticipated a huge rush, as Monday was a government holiday.

“I knew there would be rush after banks reopen on Tuesday and hence I’m standing in the queue since 7:30. You can’t depend on ATMs as they run out of money after some hours. But even thought I came early, 50 people had beat me to the queue,” said Ashish Poddar a school teacher of south Kolkata.

Some in remote areas complained that the ATMs were not refilled since November 9 - one day after the demonetisation drive was announced by PM Modi.

“The ATM of a private bank at Rangabelia in Gosaba (Sunderbans) didn’t reopen after November 9. We are left with no option but to rush to banks. There is a severe cash crunch. More than the crunch it is tension and panic that has gripped the villagers. They have once been cheated by the ponzi schemes and are now weary,” said Sudam Das a farmer of Gosaba in South 24 Parganas.

Guwahati | Many traders and middlemen in Assam and other parts of Northeast have resorted to earning commission to exchange 500 and 1000 rupee notes with those of smaller denomination.

Local television channels showed several operators outside the Guwahati regional office of Reserve Bank of India exchanging Rs 500 notes for Rs 200-300 and Rs 1000 note for around Rs 700-600.

There were reports of small traders in several villages in eastern Mizoram’s Khawbung in Champhai district resorting to using paper coupons to trade due to scarcity of currency notes of lower denominations.

“The customers use the coupons to buy things from the same shop. This system may not be applicable to towns where it is difficult to recognise everyone. In villages everyone knows each other well and there is mutual trust,” the paper quoted a local official.

Delhi-NCR | People across Delhi-NCR queued up outside banks and ATMs from early morning to get their hands on some cash. The shutters of most ATMs were half-down until well past 8am, and security guards said the cash would not be available before 11 am. Since ATM withdrawal charges have been waived, people were seen rushing from one booth to the other. “I’ve trying to withdraw cash from an ATM for three days, but there is always some problem. Since morning today, we’re being told that the server is down. Banks are not prepared to address the problems being faced by people,” said Tarun Sharma, standing outside an ATM in South Extension-I.

Hyderabad | It’s a difficult business time for small-time restaurants and dhabas on the national highways.

Many passengers in the return journey from Vijayawada to Hyderabad in the night had to remain hungry as they had no change to buy even snacks and tea at a roadside restaurant near Suryapet. “Our business has come down by 70%,” lamented Laxman, the supplier at the restaurant.

Though state-run road transport corporation buses are accepting the demonetised 500 and 1000-rupee notes, they are not returning change to the passengers.

Braving winter chill, long queues are witnessed at several banks and ATMs in Hyderabad since early Tuesday morning. “We are hoping to draw Rs 100 notes at least today. Though the bank authorities gave us Rs 2,000 notes last week, we were not able to use them because nobody was giving us change,” Kishore Kumar, a software engineer said.

Allahabad | Six days after the decision to demonetise the 500 and 1000-rupee notes, only 20% of all the ATMs of Allahabad are functional.

Right since morning, as a result, people stood in long queues at ATMs and banks all over the city two hours before the bank opening time and in hope of the ATMs being refilled.

A cash-management official handling 200 odd ATMs of different banks in Allahabad, Pratapgarh and Kaushambi districts said that cash balance of only half of the ATMs have been taken out so far, and depositing it back in the base bank had become a tough task for their staff.

“The ATMs evacuated of old notes are still being loaded with 100, and the new 500 and 2000 notes, so the ATMs are not expected to function smoothly for one more week,” said Ashwini Tewari, a senior bank officer.

According to Anand (Pappanji) Tandon, a businessman and state president of Vyapari Dena, the decision would yield good results in long term. But right now proper planning was required to deal with this crisis. “The government should depute cash dispensing machines at hospitals and cremation ghats for people,” he said.

Mumbai | In the city that never sleeps, some even came as early as 4 am to avoid the long queues before them outside various banks in the city.

Long queues were seen in bank branches in Central Mumbai in parts of Parel, Dadar, Sion and Matunga, and in the Western suburbs in parts of Borivali.

Queues outside Bank of Baroda in Ghatkopar area of Mumbai on Tuesday (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Queues outside Bank of Baroda in Ghatkopar area of Mumbai on Tuesday (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

“First two days people panicked, next two days they got angry and eventually they have got used to it,” said Altaf Ali who works at a hardware shop in Borivali. “Our Prime Minister knows the pulse of people and hence knew people would adjust to it,” he added.

People started forming lines five hours before the stipulated start time of the banks.

Shambhoo Shrivats, a paanwala, slept next to the gate of a Borivali bank. “I came at 4am and slept here to be first in the queue. Sleeping home or here is the same. My shop is just opposite the bank,” Shrivats said.

Lucknow | To avoid the post-bank-holiday rush, people in Lucknow started coming to the banks and ATMs since early Tuesday morning.

While some came earlier to check status of the opening of the cash dispensers, many had already fill up forms necessary for exchanging the old currency.

“I hope my turn will come soon and I will not have to wait for long as my brother had to on Sunday. I need to buy medicines,” says Rakesh Kumar Sharma who had come to a bank in Gomti Nagar.

Bank branches in Chowk, Indira Nagar (A block, sector 14, 11 and 25), Vikas Nagar, had account holders coming in.

Click for full coverage of black money crackdown

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