Updated: November 16, 2016 9:10:06 am
The Narendra Modi government’s decision to recall old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has led to chaos in the country. A week after the announcement was made, people have flocked to ATMs and banks to exchange and deposit their notes. With old currency made illegal overnight, the banks and ATMs saw unprecedented crowds with serpentine lines spilling on to the roads.
As the lines grew longer and the new currency in circulation shorter, more people began to feel the heat of the government’s move. As of now, there have been 12 reported deaths, allegedly due to the demonetisation as claimed by the families. While some deaths are out of shock, most people died because of standing in long queues.
A farmer in Uttar Pradesh hung himself ahead of his daughter’s wedding as he couldn’t withdraw the Rs 60,000 he borrowed for the ceremony. With the daily withdrawal limit capped at Rs 4,500 a day, the family alleged that he was worried about how to manage the expenses with all the money deposited in the bank.
Shocked by the announcement, a washerwoman in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh died after she heard that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were no longer legal. The woman found out about currency withdrawal only after she reached the bank to deposit her two Rs 1000 notes. Just days ago, she had allegedly exchanged smaller currency notes for two Rs 1000 notes for convenience.
Two elderly men — a 69-year-old in Limdi town of Surendranagar district in Gujarat and another in Madhya Pradesh’s Sagar town — standing in seemingly unending queues at banks suffered heart attack and died.
In Mumbai’s Govandi area, a couple lost their new born child who was suffering from high fever because the hospital refused to take the deposition fees in Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. Even as the couple requested them to do so, the officials refused to budge leading to the death of the infant. This was not to be an isolated case as another toddler in Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh died after the hospital refused to take treatment charges in old notes. An 18-month-old baby died in Vizag as the doctors, again, refused to accept the treatment money in demonetised notes.
A father in Jaipur claimed that his infant died as no ambulance was willing to accept demonetised notes to carry his child to the hospital. By the time the parents could arrange for the price in Rs 100 notes, the child had died.
A middle-aged woman committed suicide after the demonetisation policy announcement thinking that all the money she had had turned to water. Kandukuri Vinoda had sold her land for almost Rs 55 lakh, some of which went for her husband’s treatment and the rest was to buy another piece of land and her daughter’s wedding. On hearing the announcement, she concurred that her money was now worthless and ended her life.
In Patna, a man suffered a heart attack after learning about the demonetisation policy. His daughter’s impending marriage led him to believe that the groom might not accept the demanded Rs 35, 000 dowry in the demonetised currency notes. A 47-year-old farmer in Gujarat died while in queue to exchange demonetised currency notes.
In Bhopal, a 45-year-old cashier at the Neelbad branch of State Bank of India allegedly died of heart attack on Sunday evening. The banker had been working overtime and on weekends in order to meet the demands of the demonetisation policy.
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