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Demonetisation and past week for Puneites: Have you seen any industrialist wasting his time at a bank or ATM?

Manoj More interviews Saukat Shaikh, 52, an autorickshaw driver to understands his perspective on the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, plus the cash crisis tit has created .

Demonetisation, autoricshaw driver, Demonetisation news, Latest news, India news, Demonetisation news, Maharashtra new, India news Saukat Shaikh

His residence is less than two minute’s drive from the auto stand, where he picks up passengers every day. Yet, Saukat Shaikh, 52, refused to leave the autorickshaw line and drive to his residence for an interaction with this correspondent. “If I leave the queue, I will have to forgo a passenger if he or she arrives at that moment…I don’t want to miss out on even one passenger. As it is, I have hardly had any passengers in the last 4-5 days,” says Shaikh, who lives in a chawl in Kasarwadi with his wife and two college-going children.

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How has the last week been?

In the last 4-5 days, I only had two or three passengers, usually I have 20-30 passengers. I earn anything between Rs 100 to sometimes up to Rs 500 a day. Since demonetisation came into force, it has been a nightmare waiting for passengers. This is because people don’t have money. They are all chasing banks and ATMs. A day after demonetisation, a young woman wanted to board my autorickshaw for a distance for which the fare might have been around Rs 250. But before boarding the auto, she told me that she had a Rs 500 note… I had no choice but to turn her away. Taking the Rs 500 note would have meant queueing up at the bank and losing more business.

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How much cash were you able to deposit or withdraw?

Nothing. I could hardly earn anything. So, there was no question of depositing money in the bank.

How much time did you spend standing in queues ?

For two consecutive days, I went to a nearby bank to withdraw some money. But when I saw the endless lines, I went back home. Now I am waiting for the queues to thin out.

What were the difficulties you faced ?

My wife had gone to the bank once, but since there was no separate queue for women and no proper arrangements, she also had to return empty-handed.

How much did you spend in the last week?

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Less than Rs 100 because I hardly earned anything… My wife keeps asking for money to buy vegetables and other necessary household items. My children want money for bus tickets… It is so embarrassing to tell them that I have no money in my pocket.

How much do you normally spend in a week ?

About Rs 300-400, sometimes more than that.

Do you support this move ?

Initially, I supported the move because the Prime Minister sounded very sincere about ending corruption. But now that the poor are suffering, I think the move is not in the interest of the general public. If you look at the long queues at the banks and ATMs, it is clear that those from the poor and middle-class are spending hours just to get their hands on a paltry sum. Have you seen any rich industrialist lining up and wasting his time at a bank or an ATM, like the poor are being forced to do?

Are you prepared for next week ?

It depends… if the queues thin out… I can withdraw some amount.
(As told to Manoj More)

First published on: 17-11-2016 at 01:44:10 am
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