Since the demonetisation of Rs 500/1,000 currency notes, while most daily wagers have been badly hit, unable to buy basic necessities, there is also a section of labourers in country’s industrial hub Ludhiana who are queuing up outside banks for getting money exchanged for their employers.
Labourers in Ludhiana are using their Aadhar cards for exchanging Rs 4,000 allegedly for their employers. A photocopy shop owner in the bank hub of Ludhiana, Feroze Gandhi market, said, “Since three days, there are people who are coming with multiple Aadhar cards and getting them photocopied. Most of them appear to be from well-off families and even some women are also doing the same. They get as many as 20 Aadhar cards photocopied” .
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In the queue of HDFC Bank on Sunday at the same market stood a 42-year old hosiery worker. He belongs to Uttar Pradesh. He alleged that it was his third day in the queue. “My employer gave me Rs 4000 to get it exchanged. I have already got Rs 8,000 exchanged. Fifteen other colleagues have also been assigned the same task”.
Asked why he allowed his employer to misuse his Aadhar card, he says, “Who is going to keep an eye on how many Aadhar IDs were re-used? I cannot afford to lose my job. I don’t mind standing in a queue for a few hours.”
Another migrant worker told The Indian Express that his employer had asked the factory staffers to carry their Aadhar cards daily and that they can be needed for any ’emergency’. “How can we say no to them who give us salary which feeds our family? I had enough Rs 100 and 50 notes to get milk and vegetables for a few days. But I am in queue on orders of my employer,” he said.
A bank official said that this was not only grave misuse of the IDs and cheating poor migrant labourers but also put undue pressure on banks which are already running short of currency.
Even domestic helps are being used for the same purpose. Industrialists call it a “shameful” practice.
Gaurav Munjal, Managing Director, Hero Ecotech said that ‘such tactics are defaming industrialists and those doing it should not do this. “Factory owners misusing their employees and IDs to get cash exchanged is shameful. It defames the entire industry. Of course, it is next to impossible for banks or government to check how many times one ID was used but it is absolutely wrong and unethical”.