KOZHIKODE: The demonetisation exercise announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 has hit hard those who eke out a living by daily wages. Since the cancellation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, daily wage earners like railway porters, auto rickshaw drivers and lottery sellers have seen their income coming down sharply. On an average, a porter at Kozhikode railway station gets Rs 500-700 in a day. But now this has come down to just Rs 200.
"People are carrying luggage on their own as they don't want to lose the small change," rued P. Ahamed Koya, a porter at Kozhikode railway station. "The minimum charge for a load is Rs 70. Some will give us Rs 50 and a few 100. But now no one seeks our service," explained Kumaran Kannaampath, another porter who has been working for the past 13 years. Lottery sellers too are finding it difficult to attract customers. According to All Kerala Lottery Sellers' Association (CITU), there has been an 80 per cent dip in the sales.
"We are almost jobless. Noone's buying lottery… not even the regular customers. We have plenty of unsold tickets," K. Sukumaran, a lottery seller at Palayam bus stand said. If the situation continues, it may push many lottery sellers into poverty he said. Auto rickshaw drivers too find it difficult to get customers. Majority of the trips are for short-distance. With passengers preferring not to lose the small change, they are not hailing autos. "We park our autos in a row waiting for passengers, but no one's hiring us," said Auto drivers' association (CITU) leader Mammad Koya.