Bathinda: Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday stopped by at a Bathinda branch of State Bank of Patiala on way to the Abohar rally ground, empathizing with the harassed people struggling to cope with severe cash shortages in the aftermath of the Modi government’s demonetisation move.
Modi has taken the joy of this Gurpurab festival, said Captain Amarinder, as the harried people said they had no money to spend on the Guru Nanak Jayanti festival on Monday, given the huge cash crunch they are currently facing. “It is such a huge festival for us, and yet, for no fault of ours, we have been deprived of the occasion to celebrate it with the usual fervour and gaiety,” the people complained to the Punjab Congress chief.
The hassled customers, many of whom had queued up at the Haji Ratan Chowk, Civil Lines, branch of the bank hours before its opening time, complained to Captain Amarinder about the acute hardships they were facing to get money exchanged and withdrawn from the bank. One man said this was the third day in a row he had planted himself outside the bank to get his old notes exchanged. “Every day they tell me don’t have even Rs 4000 – the maximum I can get in exchange – to give me,” he complained to Captain Amarinder.
Many of them had returned empty-handed on Saturday and had lined up again on Sunday, even before 7 a.m., to be able to get hold of some of their own money to be able to make both ends meet, the customers at the bank complained to Captain Amarinder. It is shameful, said the Punjab Congress president, that people were being made to face such hardships as a result of being deprived of their own hard-earned money.
The Punjab Congress president met bank officials, who said they did not have enough money to give to everybody, and hence needed to close down the shutters after a few hours. In fact, the bank is yet to receive new currency and only have Rs. 100 notes, the officials told Captain Amarinder.
The way the Modi government had executed its demonetisation decision was despotic and tyrannical in the extreme, and had put the common people of the entire country to unprecedented hardship, said Captain Amarinder, adding that it was only the poor and the innocent who were suffering in this entire affair, with the corrupt again going scot-free.
Noting that some Gujarat newspapers had published stories on the proposed demonetisation several weeks ahead of the prime minister’s announcement, Captain Amarinder said the big fish, including families and friends of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had evidently known about the move well in advance and had sufficient time to find ways to put their black money aside.
“It is only people like these, who are waiting endlessly to get their own money out of the banks, who are at the receiving end of Modi’s draconian decision,” said Captain Amarinder.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief pointed out that for the farmers of Punjab, in particular, the prime minister’s axe had fallen at a time when they were still struggling to get their payments from the mandis after delayed procurement of their paddy. They have once again become the innocent victims of the government’s misplaced and senseless policies, he added.
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