Two septuagenarian sisters in Tiruppur were in for the shock of their lives when they disclosed their long-kept secret treasure of Rs 46,000 in cash to their family members a few days ago -- all the Rs 500 notes that they'd painstakingly saved for over a decade by raising goats -- only to be told that they were demonetized three years ago.
On Friday, the sisters had a reason to smile – the Tiruppur district administration handed over orders allotting monthly age pension of Rs 1,000 to each of them and free medical treatment.
That the sisters K Rangammal (75) and P Thangammal (72) had saved money -- Rs 26,000 and Rs 22,000 separately -- without the knowledge of their children came to light only when the younger one went to a hospital for treatment with the demonetized currency. Their children, who live separately, had then decided to pitch in and take care of their expenses.
Only then the sisters “realized their mistake” of not disclosing about the secret treasure when their children had asked whether they had cash in hand when the economic decision was taken by the Narendra Modi government in November 2016.
“When we asked both of them whether they had any cash with them, they replied in the negative. Maybe they were scared that we would come to know about their savings. They did not believe us when we said they have been demonetized. All the money that they saved are Rs 500 notes which are no longer legal tender,” Selvaraj, one of the sons of Thangammal, said.
After their plight made headlines in local channels and social media resonated with requests to help them, Tiruppur district collector Dr. K Vijayakarthikeyan called them to his office on Friday and handed over orders allotting them monthly pension and free medical treatment.
Rangammal, who was being treated for tuberculosis (TB), will now receive free treatment at a government hospital near her village. The Collector told DH that he decided to allot old-age pension after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told him that it can’t help at this point in exchanging the notes.
“I came across this news in mainstream and social media. After the RBI said it can’t help, I thought of ways to help the sisters. They will now receive a pension of Rs 1,000 every month, besides free medical treatment. Hope this amount helps them,” Vijayakarthikeyan told DH.