With most of her time spent taking care of her paralysed parents, Meena finds no time to go to overcrowded banks to change her old currency. Safal and Mother Dairy were her hope — until now.
Since the demonetization was announced on November 8, Mother Dairy and Safal allowed people to shop with the old notes. The balance, if any, was noted in paper, which became de facto currency for further shopping.
The arrangement was to last until November 24. But since Tuesday, Safal as well as Mother Dairy outlets have turned their back on the arrangement, causing widespread dismay.
“They are saying they can’t accept the old notes any more unless we shop for the full amount. After tomorrow (Thursday) they will stop accepting the old notes anyway. Does the government want common people to suffer?” an angry Meena asked IANS.
Several others across the capital echoed the same ordeal.
Most people complained that some Mother Dairy and Safal outlet assistants claimed they didn’t have enough stock now-a-days to sell.
A majority of Mother Dairy and Safal outlet keepers told IANS that the problem lay with the government, because it had not provided them enough in small currency in order to transact business with the old notes.
Arpit Malhotra, a Mother Dairy employee, told IANS: “As we were not returning change to our customers, we gave them chits mentioning the balance held by us. These were used to purchase more from us later.”
Another Mother Dairy employee, Subhash Chaudhury, said there never was any guideline from Mother Dairy vis-a-vis the old currency.
“We accepted the old currency from people and jotted down the balance on slips on our own initiative. Many people don’t understand that we are not getting loose cash to provide them change,” he said.
A Safal outlet manager, who gave his name as Rahul, said: “As the demand for Safal goods has suddenly shot up due to the largescale use of 1,000 and 500 notes, we are not getting enough stock.”
Another Mother Dairy manager said on the condition of anonymity: “If all the 800 Mother Dairy booths and the over 350 Safal outlets in Delhi and NCR (National Capital Region) were given Rs 100 notes to exchange with the old currency coming from customers, there would have been no problem for ordinary people.
“The government is responsible for the mess. We were only ordered to accept demonetized notes but not provided any special facility,” he told IANS.
A senior Mother Dairy official admitted there were shortages in many outlets because of a steep rise in demand.
He added that Mother Dairy and Safal managers had to stand in long queues to deposit the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in banks.
“They were asked to provide a service to people but not provided any special facility,” said the official who spoke on condition that his name and designation be not used.
Ever since demonetization, people began turning up at Mother Dairy and Safal outlets with the old currency to buy grocery, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
This followed an official announcement that these outlets — along with some select government utilities — would accept the demonetized currency until November 24.