By Mohammed Shafeeq
Life has turned cruel for the lower middle class and poor families post demonetisation of high value currency notes.
With no cash in hand and no work, some labourers are forced to starve and even beg.
Some parents have stopped sending their children to colleges to tide over the shortage of change, while many traders have shut their businesses.
Workers and employees are skipping their work to stand in long queues at banks to get much-needed exchange.
People are borrowing from kirana (grocery) shops in their neighbourhoods but the latter are also suffering as the whole sellers have stopped supplies to them.
Labourers who stand by the roadside every morning and do menial jobs were the worst hit. Some were starving and few have even taken to begging to survive.
"There is no work for the last five days. I don't even have money to buy food," said K. Sammaiah, a labourer.
Standing with many others at 'Labour Adda' in Vijayanagar Colony in the city, he is waiting endlessly for work.
People engage labourers from designated points called 'Labour Addas' for cleaning the drains, white washing or other petty works.
On normal days, Sammaiah earns Rs 100 to Rs 200 to make both ends meet for a family of four. Some labourers have started begging to survive.
Go to any bank and talk to people standing in queues, almost everybody has a story of woe to tell.
With no one to guide them, the poor and illiterate are falling prey to unscrupulous elements exploiting the situation.
Shameem Sultana, who works as a helper at a private school, lost Rs 800 from her salary of Rs 4,000.
"I stood in queue for the whole day at a bank for exchange and before my turn came, the bank people told us that they have no more money," Sultana, a widow, said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Someone told me that I would lose whatever notes I have and offered to give me Rs 100 notes at 20 percent commission. I had no option because I can't afford to be absent while my mother is bed ridden," said the woman, who has a seven-year-old daughter.
There are also people who are making sacrifices to help the needy. Bilal Ahmed, a construction contractor, sold some valuables to mobilise money for paying his workers.
"I had to arrange money in lesser denominations because they can't stand in long queues at banks and their survival depends on their daily income," said Ahmed, a resident of First Lancer.
Sripriya, a Class 12 student in Anantapur town of Andhra Pradesh, has stopped going to college as her father, a private employee, is not in a position to give her Rs 50 everyday for transportation and other expenses.
Syed Akbar in Secunderabad here has also stopped sending his two children to college to save daily expenses of Rs 400 towards their conveyance and food.
Feroze Khan, a wholesale vegetable trader in Lingampally, has stopped his business for five days.
"I don't have money to pay either to farmers or to drivers of the vehicles who bring the vegetables," he said.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be reached at email@example.com)