Foreign tourists in India have come up with the idea of street performances to fund their return tickets to New Delhi due to the cash crunch that the country has been facing following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
The demonetisation of the currency notes has left the tourists "virtually penniless" which is why two groups of foreigners, who had come to India to attend the Pushkar Fair in Rajasthan, resorted to performing on the streets to raise money.
The two groups, which consist of 10-12 tourists from Germany, Australia and France, were seen performing near Pushkar's famous Brahma Temple and also at a crossing at the Gau Ghat in Pushkar on Saturday with the hope that locals might help them with some money. They were also seen holding placards that read: "You can help us" and "Money problem."
According to a Hindustan Times report, the male members of the two groups played musical instruments while the female members performed acrobatic stunts with big hoops to entertain the large crowd that had gathered on the streets to watch their performance.
The tourists told the daily that they had to resort to street performances because all "ATMs and banks ran out of cash" due to which they could not withdraw money from their bank accounts. Following the announcement to demonetise the currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, people have been standing in long queues outside banks and ATMs to withdraw notes of lower denominations or the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 note released by the government.
"Locals have been kind to us. So far we have collected around Rs 2,600," Adlrik, a German tourist, said.
"We came here on November 8 to see the famous Pushkar fair. The same night the Government of India announced demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes. Whatever change we had in Rs 100 and lower denominations are exhausted," Jayden, an Australian citizen, said adding that it became difficult for them to even buy food and water. The Pushkar Fair ended on November 14.
The foreigners desperately want to return to New Delhi and get in touch with the respective embassies to sail through 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," Jayden told HT.
They could not withdraw or exchange money from banks and ATMs despite repeated attempts.
"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," Adalene, a French tourist, said.
Nathu Sharma, a local shopkeeper, told the daily that this was the first time in his 45-year stay in Pushkar that he has seen foreign tourists performing on the streets to seek financial help.