ARIYALUR: Given that many have spent most of their money and have very little or no opportunity of finding work, people have found it easier to purchase essential commodities using the barter system in rural parts of Ariyalur.
Though the cashless economy has not been entirely forgotten, people said the barter system has been working for them as they have little or no money to spend. Due to the lockdown, most people are at home without work in the district. Some are going without food. In rural areas, farmers are unable to sell their produce and have been badly affected.
The barter system is being used to purchase items like vegetables, paddy and chili for daily requirements. Chetti Thirukonam resident R Raja said, “Cash flow is currently low, I cultivated chili and groundnut on my two acres, but I needed paddy. So, I purchased two-and-a-half sacks of paddy in exchange for 25 kg of chilis. We calculated at the market price.”
He added, “There are no middlemen involved, ensuring honesty in transactions. While people in the town are using debit or credit cards to make payments, we have returned to an older form of cashless payment and we are happy with it.” Another resident, T Karunanidhi, said, “I gave two-and-a-half sacks of paddy in exchange for chilis. We also exchange vegetables. Due to traffic constraints, we cannot go out and sell our goods. So, we buy from neighbours using this system. Because of the currency crisis in all areas, the barter system is being increasingly used in many villages. We make direct purchases and it does not look like business.”