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Satish Kumar (36), a tenant farmer in east Delhi’s Yamuna Pushta area, is in a fix. Ever since the Centre announced that old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes will not be exchanged after November 24, Kumar doesn’t know what to do next. He says he has Rs 10,000 in demonetised currency and no bank account. Kumar, who is from Badaun and has been farming in the area for the last 10 years, said he had gone to the bank on November 12 to exchange Rs 4,500. “I stood in queue from 8 am to 6 pm but could not get the money exchanged. Tell me, what should I do now?” he said.
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Kumar said the move has burdened his life and those of other farmers. “I have seven bighas of land which gave me a yield of 42 quintals of cauliflower. During the beginning of the month, I sold the produce for Rs 20-25 per kilo. I thought I would get around Rs 1 lakh from the entire harvest. But when demonetisation was announced, the price of the vegetable slumped,” he said.
“Nobody is willing to pay Rs 8 for a kilo of cauliflower because there is no money in the market. Some of the harvest rotted in the fields,” he added. Kumar said he had spent Rs 53,000 on just sowing the crop. “I will be fortunate if I can recover this,” he said.
Another farmer, Sunil, said some people had sought his help because they wanted to deposit money into his account. “They had gone to their home town to open bank accounts and deposit money but were unable to do so,” he said.
Six kilometres away, near the Ghazipur landfill, 40-year-old Seikh Majid said he too does not have a bank account and is thinking of depositing his money in a friend’s account.
Majid, who had come from Kolkata 30 years ago and works as a scrap dealer, said his work has changed since demonetisation. “Scrap buyers have told us that if we want to be paid in new notes, then we will have to accept new rates. This is a loss for us,” he said.