December 14, 2016 4:56:17 am
HOURS AFTER Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the demonetisation drive at a wholesale market in Dadri, 35-year-old Rajesh Kumar took out two soiled Rs 20 notes and a few coins from his pocket. “I earned Rs 50 today. Earlier, I used to earn between Rs 300-400 per day. While politicians are trying to find political ground, we are trying to find a way to fill our stomachs,” Kumar said.
Three months ago, Sugand Mahto had accompanied Kumar from Khagaria district in Bihar to come to Dadri. Like Kumar, Mahto had managed to earn around Rs 400 per day. “Since November 8, I have earned Rs 500-700 in total. Now, all of us are in debt.”
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At the Dadri Nayi Anaj Mandi in Gautam Budh Nagar district, the number of farmers has reduced by nearly 50 per cent, tax collection from vegetable vendors has come to a halt and the quantity of produce has dropped.
“The number of farmers visiting the market has decreased. Almost 90 per cent of them do not have debit cards and they do not know how to use smartphones and computers. They are not in favour of payments through cheques. It takes at least five days for the money to come to their accounts. They have to buy seeds, pay their children’s school fees, medical expenses, etc,” said an inspection officer at the mandi.
Satpal Bajrangi, a trader at the Dadri mandi, said that while the aim behind the scheme was laudable, it has been poorly implemented. “Everyone at the mandi – farmers, labourers and small traders – have been hit,” he said.
Pointing to a dozen trucks parked at the gate, Mahender Sharma, another trader, said, “Had you come here before note bandi, you would not have been able to get any vehicle inside. The market used to be full of tractors, farmers, traders. Now it is empty. We do not know how or when this problem will be solved.”
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