Today is Guru Purab — the birthday of founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak. It’s an auspicious day. It’s celebrated across North India and very prominently in the state of Punjab. However, due to Narendra Modi government’s decision to demonitize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, many in Punjab are wondering how will they celebrate the festival. ATMs are running dry of cash, and banks will be shut today.
This has resulted in people wondering how would will they celebrate the festival. The Indian Express narrated the ordeal of 65-year-old Balwant Kaur who has been running from pillar to post to get her Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes exchanged. Banks turned her away saying they didn’t have enough Rs 100 notes. Now she has completely run out of money.
The paper quotes her as saying:
“First I went to Lambra bank and then I came here( Punjab Gramin Bank ). But the officials are saying that they have neither Rs 100 notes nor new Rs 500 notes. Where will people like me go?”
She added: , “Kal Gurpurab hai te sadhe ghar na kuchh khan nu hai na gurdware chadan nu (Tomorrow is Gurpurab, the birth anniversary of first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak, and we don’t have anything to eat or offer at the gurdwara).”
Indeed, banks in Jalandhar are running short of Rs 100 notes. Punjab Gramin Bank manager from the bank’s Nijjran village branch was quoted as saying:
“We have 5,000 account holders, mostly labourers, landlords and some NRIs. We did not get Rs 100 notes in the last two days.”
Another account holder in the bank said:“We appreciate the step taken by the government because it will teach a lesson to the corrupt. But due to shortage of new currency and old notes like Rs 100 and Rs 50, the common man and the poor are suffering a lot.”
Hopefully their ordeal subsides.