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Demonetisation Move hits Tirumala Temple Pilgrims hard as Hotel Owners, Taxi drivers and Shops refuse to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 Currency Notes

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams arranged for free food, snacks and milk for all pilgrims

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Lord Venkateswara, Tirumala
Lord Venkateswara, Tirumala. Flickr

Tirupati, November 9, 2016: Devotees visiting Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala were hit hard on Wednesday as taxi drivers and owners of hotels and shops refused to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes after the government’s sudden move to demonetise them.

The pilgrims, who flock from all over the country to the temple town, had a tough time buying food and other essential items of daily use. Some were facing difficulties even in buying milk for their children.

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“After reaching at the railway station on Wednesday morning, we learnt that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are no longer valid. Since we were travelling, we are carrying only high denomination currency notes,” said G. Rammohan, a devotee from Visakhapatnam.

With banks and ATMs closed for the day, the pilgriums and visitors had no option but to borrow or buy on credit, or to rough it out.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which runs the affairs of the hill shrine — the richest in the country — intervened to provide some succour to the pilgrims. It arranged for free food, snacks and milk for all pilgrims.

“We are also accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for darshan tickets,” a TTD official told IANS.

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Arrangements were also made to enable devotees swipe their credit and debit cards for accommodation and other services provided by the TTD.

[bctt tweet=”About 50,000 pilgrims every day have ‘darshan’ of the idol at the Tirumala temple in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. ” username=””]

The pilgrims at Sri Bhramrambha Mallikharjuna temple at Srisailam and other prominent shrines in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Telangana also had a tough time due to the Centre’s move to do away with high denomination currency notes.

The devotees complained that the sudden move caused them severe inconvenience as they were stranded at bus and railway stations. Many went without food for hours.

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As it is ‘Karthika masam’, an auspicious period, thousands of devotees throng the temples, especially at Srisailam.

Meanwhile, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded that both the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments set up special counters at temples administered by them to help devotees to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. (IANS)

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Usage of Unaccounted Cash Still Prevalent in Market: Report

Large cash transactions still present in resale realty market

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Unaccounted cash
Significant usage of unaccounted cash is still prevalent in the secondarly real estate market. Pixabay

It has been three years since demonetisation which was implemented with the aim to curb and eradicate black money. But according to a report released on Wednesday, significant usage of unaccounted cash is still prevalent in the secondarily real estate market.

The report prepared by Anarock Property Consultants said that up to 30 per cent of the total transaction value in the secondary or resale residential maket in India can still be paid in cash.

However, the primary sales market in tier-I cities offer the least scope for unaccounted wealth in property deals, it said.

“Demonetization in November 2016 sent Indian residential real estate — till then a preferred laundromat for unaccounted wealth — into an almost terminal tailspin. Even three years after DeMo, the battle is only half-won,” said Anuj Puri, Chairman Aof Anarock Property Consultants.

“The secondary or resale residential real estate market still accommodates black money; at least 30 per cent of the total cost of resale property can still be paid in cash. While more and more buyers and sellers prefer official payment routes as a matter of principle, many still use the resale property market to launder untaxed cash,” he added.

Cash in market
Many buyers use the resale property market to launder untaxed cash. Pixabay

As per the report, while the trend in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and the National Capital Region (NCR), which are historically notorious for black money in real estate, has tamed considerably in primary sales, their resale property markets still see cash components.

As much as 20-25 per cent of the total resale property cost can still be “adjusted” with black money, it said, adding that in Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, the prevalence of transparent payment routes, even on the resale market, is much higher.

“Unlike the primary sales market, the resale market still lacks strict regulations, making it easier for buyers and sellers to use cash components.

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Also, the primary sales market involves developers with a reputation to protect, while a resale property transaction involves two individuals. The pricing of resale properties also lacks transparency,” the report said.

In the case of direct sales by developers, there are readily-available pricing benchmarks, while in the secondary market, a seller can inflate the price of a property based on location, added features and so on without stating on the books. (IANS)