Tourists perform on the streets of Pushkar to raise money for tickets to New Delhi after the demonetisation of high-value currency left them ‘virtually penniless’
Two groups of cash-strapped foreign tourists in Rajasthan’s Pushkar hit upon an innovative idea to fund their return tickets to Delhi as demonetisation of high-value currency “left them virtually penniless.”
The two groups, comprising tourists from Germany, Australia and France, were seen performing near the famous Brahma temple and at a crossing at the Gau Ghat in Pushkar on Saturday seeking financial help from locals. They were holding placards that read: “You can help us” and “Money problem.”
The men in the groups played musical instruments while their female friends performed acrobatic stunts with large hoops much to the amusement of the large crowd that gathered to watch the show. There were around 10-12 members in the two groups.
They said they donned the role of street performers after failing to withdraw money from their accounts “as ATMs and banks ran out of cash.”
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced the culling of 86% of the value of Indian currency in circulation by banning Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, millions of people are seen queuing up in front of banks and ATM kiosks to get new legal notes.
“Locals have been kind to us. So far we have collected around Rs2600,” said Adlrik, a German tourist.
“We came here on November 8 to see the famous Pushkar fair. The same night government of India announced demonetisation of R500 and R1000 banknotes. Whatever change we had in Rs100 and lower denominations are exhausted,” said Jayden from Australia. The fair ended on November 14.
He said they were facing problems even to buy food and water.
They are now desperate to go to Delhi to get in touch with their embassies to tide over the cash crunch.
“As a last resort, we took recourse to performing on the streets to get some help from locals so that we can at least reach Delhi to seek help from our embassies,” said Jayden.
The tourists told HT that despite repeated attempts they were unable to manage cash or exchange their Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
“On Friday, my friend and I stood outside an SBI bank and another friend stood outside an ATM for three hours but as soon as our turn came, the cash was exhausted,” said Adalene, a French tourist.
A local shopkeeper, Nathu Sharma, told HT that in his 45-year-long stay in this famous tourist destination, this is the first time he has seen foreigners performing to get financial help.
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