Medical shops are asking customers to buy for Rs 500 or Rs 1000.

Medical shops in dilemma To take or not to take Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes
news Currency Woes Wednesday, November 09, 2016 - 13:25

The Prime Minister’s surprise announcement to make Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes illegal tender from November 8 midnight has been largely welcomed by business giants and even political parties.

But the sudden move was bound to inconvenience certain sectors, at least for a few days till people can exchange their currency or get the new currency.

Despite the Prime Minister assuring that hospitals and pharmacies will continue to accept the two denominations till November 11, many private-run medical shops remain skeptical of accepting them. 

The staff at Geetha Medicals at Naduvilal in Thrissur town have plainly refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000.

A staff member Shiju says, “The pharmacies attached to government hospitals can accept all currency, not us. Many people have come since morning asking the same…some wanted medicines whereas some others wanted change. Our concern is real, we have very few Rs 100 notes left here. If we start accepting the withdrawn notes and return money of lesser denominations, we will have to shut the store by 12 in the noon.”

While many other private-run medical shops in Thrissur reiterated the same citing difficulty in returning currency of smaller denominations, some others have decided to accept the withdrawn notes. 

These are mostly the medical shops situated close to hospitals and clinics. 

Neethi Medical Store, run with assistance from state run ConsumerFed located near the Thrissur Co-operative Hospital has worked out a method to help patients in distress.   

“Authorities of the co-operative bank has given us instructions that we should not refuse any customer. We are now accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes and instead of paying back change, we write in the bill the balance amount. We have asked them to come back and avail the balance amount after four days,” staff member Sunitha said. 

The district co-operative hospital authorities too have resorted to the same technique. 

A medical shop on St Marks road in Bengaluru said that they will accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, as long as customers bought for that amount, and not lesser.

Another one at Cambridge layout reiterated the same. “Those who can swipe cards can do so. Others need to purchase for Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 if they want to give those notes,” a man at the counter said.

Radha Medical Shop owner in Hyderabad said, "Sales are going down. We are short of change and since morning I have been keeping track of all the dues. Some of my daily customers are buying medicines for lesser amounts and asking us to clear the dues later."

Savitha, a 47-year-old house wife wanted to buy cough syrup but couldn't as she was just left with a Rs 500 note. She handed over the note and told the owner she would collect the change later.

(With inputs from Aditi Mallick, Megha Varier and Sarayu Srinivasan)

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