Demonetisation triggers mass exodus of labourers

Published: December 14, 2016 - 19:47 Updated: August 8, 2017 - 15:40

The Aam Aadmi Party has fired the latest salvo in the outcry against demonetisation


More than four hundred thousand people, mostly migrants and daily wage workers from Purvanchal have fled Delhi since the announcement of demonetisation on November 8. This is an allegation made by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday. The party demanded an apology from newly-appointed Delhi BJP state President Manoj Tiwari accusing him of mocking those people standing in bank queues by distributing laddoos.

“Post demonetisation demand has gone down, and more than 5,000 recycling factories in Bawana are on the verge of shutting their operations,” said Prakash Jain chairman of Bawana Chamber of Industries. He said more than 1,00,000 labourers have fled from the industrial town in the last one and a half months after the note ban was introduced. The major reason behind this mass migration is the sudden disappearance of cash from the market. The industry had been functioning on a cash based ecosystem where transactions were mostly conducted in hard money. Due to lack of cash, the supply of raw materials has been affected for many industries which have had a dire impact. Many industries have not received any new order in the last couple of weeks which has worsened the conditions”

Small and medium scale industries which used to employ a large chunk of labourers have started cutting down on their spending. While industries are firing numerous daily wage employees due to crumbling business, many workers are fleeing from the city willfully due to the paucity of cash and their inability to support their families. Due to a steep decline in demand in the market, industries have slashed their production resulting in a panic in Bawana and adjoining industrial areas of Kundli, Wazirpur and Nangloi.

Talking to Hardnews Diwakar Jain who runs a recycling factory in the area said that since November 8 nearly 50 percent of labourers in his factories have left for their homes due to lack of disposable cash. Diwakar added “We always had a very small labour base but in last one month more than 12 workers have left. We earlier used to pay them in cash but due to an insufficiency of paper currency we started paying them through cheques, most of our labours either did not have any bank accounts and, if any, they had it in their states. Due to inadequate cash, they were unable to support their families and left.”

AAP MLAs Rajesh Rishi, Bandana Kumari and Akhilesh Pati Tripathi posed questions to Manoj Tiwari about whether distributing laddoos were a celebration of the fact that markets, trade and businesses have gone down while friends of BJP have been profiting in this alleged 8 lakh crore scam.  

With the municipal elections around the corner, the appointment of BJP MP Manoj Tiwari at the helm of the Delhi state unit perhaps underscores the importance of purvanchali votes in Delhi. Adjudging the migrant population from Purvanchal to be the biggest victim of the note ban policy of the NDA government, AAP Janakpuri MLA Rajesh Rishi said “People from Purvanchal will show BJP its place in the coming Municipal Corporation elections by bringing them down.”