New Delhi: Even a week after the withdrawal of Rs 500 and 1000 notes, Delhiites continued to struggle for basic necessities with cash-strapped people waiting in long, winding queues outside banks and ATMs to get petty cash.
The residents in the national capital had a harrowing time commuting by public transport and auto-rickshaws as they were short of change or new currency notes to make the payments.
The queues at Mother Dairy and other cooperative stores, where old currency notes are being accepted till November 24, were also long as people were seen buying the products in bulk.
"I have made an arrangement with an auto-rickshaw driver, I'm travelling to office by the same vehicle everyday and I told him I will pay the amount together when I have new notes.
"But it has been a week, I got Rs 4000 exchanged last week but they were spent in making payments for groceries and other stuff. I'm feeling bad because the driver is also out of money," said Debajyoti, a Rohini resident.
Meanwhile, the owners said their businesses were suffering.
"People come and request us if we can accept Rs 500 notes. How can I even try when even I am running out of stock. The wholesale market from where we purchase vegetables is also closed as nobody has money to pay or continue with any transaction. Can we pay truck drivers through cheques or netbanking?," said Ram Kishan, a grocery shop owner in South Delhi's Ber Sarai area.
"I iron clothes in our locality. I'm making an account for all people who are getting work done from me thinking they will pay cash to me later. Similarly, I'm also buying my stuff from the kirana store promising him to pay later. So everybody's business is running like this," said Rajwati, who resides in East Delhi's Laxmi Nagar area.
"But the question bothering everybody is till when?" she added.
Sidhant Malhotra, who is travelling to college by taxis, said, "I can make the transactions online and use plastic money but what about people like my parents who aren't tech savvy. I can do it for them but basic necessities like water bottles are delivered when I'm not there. How do I help that?"
"The economy which should turn into a black money free economy is becoming a credit economy where everybody is taking credit from someone promising to pay later," he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and had said new currency notes will be introduced. Banks had been instructed to work extra hours and even over the weekend to deal with the massive rush.