Where are the acchhe din?

By Amit S Upadhye| Express News Service | Published: 11th November 2017 07:52 AM
A farmer dries his harvets in Haliyal village, Uttara Kannada | Express

HALIYAL: Haliyal is a village that falls under the Tatvanagi Gram Panchayat. A year since demonetisation, it’s still struggling to come to terms with the Rs 2000 note. Shopkeepers find it difficult to generate change for the pink note.

Most of the ATMs and banks here still dispense Rs 2,000 currency notes. Villagers’ needs are still in the D100 range and withdrawing a big note often leads to overspending. Savings have disappeared, says Madappa S, a gram panchayat member.

A shopkeeper at Tatvanagi says the list of customers he has sold to on credit has grown long since demonetization. “Customers come with Rs 2,000 notes,” he says. “I end up selling for credit.”

Farm produce prices that took a hit due to demonetization have not recovered to pre-demon days. An official of the Tatvanagi panchayat, which administers seven villages with a total population of 8,000, said the price of maize was D1400-1,500 per quintal before the Big D. The November 2016 harvest barely fetched Rs 900 as there was no cash in the market. Farmers sold nevertheless because maize cannot be stored for long as pests attack the harvest. Now, the maize harvest is here again, and the price has not recovered.

This month is also the sugarcane harvest time in Haliyal, and labourers have been brought in to work. They pitch tents in the fields and work for a month. Labour contractors have switched to cheque or digital payments but many of the workers have no bank accounts. “Where are the acchhe din,” asked a villager in Hosur. “We still live without an ATM or a bank. And we are being charged more for everything.”

Here as everywhere else, it’s the small financiers and businessmen who welcome digitisation. “Labour contractors used to dupe people earlier. But now we are aware,” said a businessman.

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