The Modi government’s decision to discontinue old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes has seen queues outside banks spill on to the roads, with most spending hours to avail basic financial services. With banks disbursing currency notes, as and when they become available, a bank in Uttar Pradesh allegedly handed over a bag of Re 1 coins to a customer in exchange for Rs 2,000. When Sarju Devi, a resident of Mohanlalganj, went to a bank to swap her old notes, the cashier gave her a bag of coins weighing at least 17 kgs, Hindustan Times reported.
The 60-year-old mother had to call her son, who was diagnosed with last-stage-abdominal cancer, for help as she couldn’t even lift the bag. Accusing the bank of apathy, Devi told Hindustan Times: “Is it justified? After spending hours in queues, to get my own money, I am being paid in one rupee coins. The bag weighs around 17kg, that I couldn’t even carry home.” Devi alleged that her pleas fell on deaf ears as the bank’s cashier said “jo milega wohi to denge (bank will give money in whatever denominations it will receive), lena ho to lo, warna jao (take it, or go back)”.
Devi was in urgent need of money as her son has been undergoing radio therapy to cure his cancer. “Radio therapy keeps my son going. Since three days, we couldn’t get it done as no one is accepting the change. They don’t have time to count Re 1 coins,” she said.
With emotions running high, the government Thursday announced that farmers can withdraw cash up to Rs 25,000 per week, traders operating in mandis up to Rs 50,000 per week and families celebrating weddings up to Rs 2.5 lakh.