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'If we complain, we'll be called anti-national': Banda villagers slam note ban

Vikas Kumar | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:38 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation decision has caused havoc in the daily lives of ordinary citizens across the country. The serpentine queues outside ATMs and banks show no signs of decreasing.

Although the government has repeatedly assured there is no shortage of cash, reports from parts of the country seem to indicate otherwise. The situation particularly grave in remote areas, far away from the glare of the news and social media.

We still have little idea how the rural India has reacted to the note ban. The misery, or the lack of it, faced by the people in these areas has largely gone unreported.

This is the reason Catch has started a series 'An Ear to the Ground'. The idea is to bring out the voices from places that have been ignored.

Banda district in Bundelkhand lies about 600 km away from Delhi. However, the entire landscape as well as reality changes as we cover this distance.

Delhi is the seat of political power in the country. In contrast, Banda is just another district heavily dependent on agriculture. The population of Banda is dominated by farmers and landless farm labourers.

On the evening of 8 November, most people had retired for the day after a hard day's work, when PM Modi appeared on TV to announce his demonetisation policy. With hardly any electricity in the region, the people got the news only the next day as the news spread after the distribution of newspapers.

Slowly, queues started cropping up outside banks. Most ATMs in this area are 'out of service' even on normal days.

Four weeks later, Catch spoke to some of the people from Banda's villages. People say that confusion hasn't ended. Bank officials work on their own terms. Each individual is getting only Rs 500.

They have very little money for organising weddings or buying seeds for the next crop season.

First published: 3 December 2016, 9:37 IST