“This move has been undertaken to provide the poor with three meals a day and save them from dying of hunger due to demonetisation,” tweeted Delhi’s AAP deputy chief minster Manish Sisodia, who along with chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has been highly critical of the move to scrap high-value notes.
नोटबंदी के शिकार गरीब लोगों को भुखमरी से बचाने के लिए दिल्ली सरकार ने आज से 10 जगह लंगर शुरू किए हैं। 1/N pic.twitter.com/7GlMfXMos2
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) December 12, 2016
The free food distribution – or langar – was set up in 10 places across Delhi. Sisodia’s party colleague Ashutosh called the plan “humanitarian”.
Congrats Manish, this is not only job of the govt but also humanity. Dont stop till march-april as cash crunch likely to continue. https://t.co/RHObl9CWwk
— आशुतोष (@ashu3page) December 12, 2016
In fact, in several cities and towns in northern India, it isn’t just bank queues that are long. There are long lines even at langars, which are typically run in gurudwaras. In Delhi, university students have also been seeking out langars as they are short of cash to buy food from their regular cafeterias and roadside stalls.
“After paying our rents, we have run out of cash. No landlord is accepting cheques Most of us come together with our books to the gurudwara, and after lunch, we sit together and study here in the compound,” said Neha Vaswani, a second-year literature student.
The manager at a gurudwara in Moti Bagh said the langar has been catering to many students who live in paying guest accommodations near their colleges. “We are glad to help them,” said the Moti Bagh gurudwara manager Kashmir Singh.
After the ban, Delhi chief minister Kejriwal alleged that the move was a “huge scam” by the NDA government at the Centre. He also alleged that the BJP and some other players had been informed before demonetisation. In addition, he said that there had been significant misreporting on the money deposits made at banks.
“In previous quarters, deposits in banks were negative. But in the July-to-September quarter, such large amounts were being deposited in the banks. Who did all this money belong to?” he asked last month.