DEMONETISATION IS a major factor in poll-bound Punjab as candidates are leaving nothing to chance to join the angry public standing in queues outside banks. While Congress and AAP have been reaching out to masses, SAD and BJP prefer to stay away as they support demonetisation. One such incident was visible outside the SBI branch of Sunam in Sangrur district which has over 2,500 accounts of this small area. Over 300 people (men and women) had queued up outside since 6 am only to know at 11 am that all cannot be compensated as there was cash crunch. This led to a protest followed by traffic jam and Daman Bajwa, the Congress candidate, joined the dharna followed by AAP candidate Aman Arora, who accused the Modi government for the people’s woes.
While talking to The Indian Express, Bajwa said, “Most of the people had been standing in the queue since 6 am and at around 11 am, they were told that there is only Rs 1 lakh cash and hence all cannot be entertained. This was ridiculous. So, they had no option but to sit on dharna.”
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The dharna continued for about an hour. Later, the bank got Rs 4 lakh cash deposits from some customers and hence cash distribution was done to nearly 70 people and each account holder was given Rs 10,000 instead of the Rs 4,000 planned earlier.
Manpreet Singh, local Congress councillor, said, “They write token numbers on the hands of people and don’t even let them know how many people can be entertained on a single day. And not all those who got Rs 10,000 each have been told not to come to the bank for one week for fresh withdrawals. We really wonder when this cash crunch will be over and now 50 days, as told by Modi, are also over.”
Aman Arora, too, wasted no time in sitting on dharna with the people and even talked to bankers on behalf of account holders. Arora has been campaigning in this area since long while Bajwa’s name was announced on December 23 only. Candidates, who spoke to the bankers, asked them to call people on the basis of availability of cash instead of making them wait for hours.
Meanwhile, bank authorities revealed that they had been dealing with day-to-day cash deposits for disbursal and hence had limitations.
SPS Kohli, lead district manager of Sangrur, said, “Situation is improving now and at the same time, we are holding workshops with people to go cashless so as to reduce the queues.”