Rs. 2000 Ka Chhutta Hai?

Vendors across the city wonder where they will get the change for 2000 rupees if customers give it to them

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Even two days after the currency ban, serpentine lines outside banks and ATMs continue. While many worry how they will get the money exchanged, other are clicking selfies with the new Rs. 2000 note. However, if you ask the small vendors around the city how the feel about the new note, they will say one thing for sure – they don’t know where to provide customers chhutta from, if the customers have handed them a 2000 rupee note. We caught up with some of the vendors from around the city and asked them about this predicament.

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Raju Gupta, a 30-year-old who hails from UP and is a juice vendor, says, “I don’t know if banning the 500 and 1000 currency notes is a good or bad thing. Early in the morning, a customer brought a new 2000 rupee note to me, but I am a small vendor. I didn’t have change and I could not afford to take the risk of accepting the note. Due to this ban, my business has gone down drastically. Only five customers have come to me since morning.”

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Vishal Raj, 30, owner of Avon Medical that is situated outside Bhaba Hospital (Bandra) says, “The government has directed us (chemists) to accept the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes till midnight today. Most of the customers are coming to the medical shop to buy medicines for their family members as the hospital is just situated opposite the shop. Until noon today, only a single customer brought in a 2000 rupee note. As they purchased medicines, we gave them change. We are not exchanging old notes over here. Most of patients’ relatives are bringing us 500 and 1000 rupee notes. W aren’t accepting the notes but are giving them credit against copies of their hospital bills. We can take the money from them later. We are doing this not as chemists but on humanitarian grounds as people need help at this time of crisis.”

“Business is as usual. The move hasn’t caused any kind of instability for the business, but we are not able to do business as the customers are bringing us only the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Since morning, I have got two or three 2000 rupee notes and I did give them change as they purchased stuff worth 800, 1200 and 1500. There is no issue for me as the 2000 rupee notes are legal notes and I don’t mind accepting them at all.” states Vinod Patel, 42, owner of Sheetal Soap Agency in Bazaar Road, Bandra.

“Yesterday, I had a customer who brought in a 2000 rupee note but then I kept it as credit with me, as I asked the customer to take the change later as I don’t have change now. Customers are still bringing in old 500 and 1000 rupee notes but as there is shortage of change, I am not selling them anything. The public have the money but because they don’t have change they won’t be able to come out and eat or purchase anything at all. Every day, I am facing losses in my business and then I have to throw the food away because of lack of customers. Now, you tell me what am I to do?” asks Vasi, 50-year-old who earns his livelihood by selling snacks such as idlis and wadas.

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At Bandra, near the Western Express Highway, Ramesh Bagar, a 28-year-old cab driver with Uber rests at the side of the road as he doesn’t have any customers. He says, “We got instructions from Uber to accept the new 500 and 2000 rupee notes. But right now most of the customers are paying through either Paytm or their debit and credit cards. Most of the customers are aware about the situation and are cooperating with us. It is both a good and bad decision. For middle-class people like me, it is fine but the whole issue now will be to get change for the 2000 rupee notes that the customers will bring in.”

Ramesh Murlidhar Ghadge, 31, sits comfortably in his PUC van, waiting for customers. “Due to the ban, I had a lot of people who came in to get PUC for their bikes and cars; most of them gave me 500 rupee notes only. So for the last two days, I didn’t do any business and just rested at home. But then as I am a worker, I can’t afford to sit at home every day, so today I came back to work and you see there are hardly any customers. I won’t mind taking the 2000 rupee note provided I have 1900 rupees change to return to the customers.”

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“Earlier, we were not able to give change for 500 and 1000 rupees to customers. How will we be able to give change for 2000 rupees to customers now? There is hardly any business; everyone is leaving their work and going to the banks to either deposit their money or exchange it. Because of that, there is hardly any public out on the roads. My business has gone down a lot over the last three days. Most of the customers are giving me the change but a number of customers who travel every day by rickshaw has reduced. At the petrol pump, they are not giving us CNG as we don’t have change. Now I don’t know whether I should I drive my rickshaw to earn my livelihood or stand in long queues to exchange notes,” states Rajesh Singh, 42, rickshaw driver, who lives in Goregaon

“Until now I haven’t received any 2000 rupee note. If I have change, I will definitely accept the 2000 rupee note. But if I don’t have change, how will I give or take the same from customers. The business has gone down since yesterday as the customers are not buying cigarettes and all,” says Ramesh Shetty, 44, a worker at Ganesh paan bidi shop pointing at the stack of cigarettes that he has.

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Devilal Darji, 25, works at Riddhi Old Paper Mart in Andheri East opposite Teli Galli, says “I have stopped taking and giving 500 and 1000 rupee notes from customers. Customers are not taking the old notes from us. I don’t have the new 2000 rupee notes but I have seen it and it looks like a kid’s fake currency note. Now, that it is in the market, I have to use that for transaction even though it’s not good at all. I will definitely take the new 2000 rupee notes from the wholesalers and dealers who come to collect scrap materials from us.”