CUTTACK/JEYPORE: Social distancing norms have gone for a toss in Cuttack and Koraput districts where women are queuing outside banks and banking kiosks to collect cash assistance under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and other Government schemes. The Centre has announced to provide `500 a month for the next three months to help women to run their households and manage the hardship caused by the lockdown. The money has been transferred to their Jan Dhan Yojana bank accounts.
However, there has been serious rumour mongering on the issue. Word is being spread that the money would be taken away by the Government if not withdrawn immediately thereby also depriving them from availing the next two installments. Misled by the rumour, women beneficiaries are gathering in large numbers outside banks leading to violation of social distancing guidelines.
“We had heard that the first installment of Rs 500 would be taken away and we may not avail the two other installments if the money is not withdrawn immediately,” said a woman who waited outside the Canara Bank branch at Choudwar to withdraw the amount. Some others said they had come to the bank to verify if the first installment of the money has been credited to their account or not. Such was the crowd at some banks that officials concerned had to take the help of police to maintain social distancing. Bank managers asked the women not to believe in the rumours.
In urban and rural parts of Koraput district too, women lined up outside banks to collect `500 that has been deposited in their bank accounts under PMJDY since last three days. Despite officials urging villagers to strictly maintain safe distance, there were no takers. Heavy crowding was visible outside banks in Koraput, Jeypore and Sunabeda towns. This put the administration on its toes with extra forces being deployed in towns to maintain social distancing. “We have been asking people to maintain safe distance but in a rush to get money, they are not adhering to rules”, said an official. He added that the rush is also because of a rumour that the amount would be taken back from their accounts once the lockdown is lifted.