Flood victims barter relief materials for shave, haircut, gutkha

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Patna, Sep 13 (UNI) Barter system, which vanished with increasing purchasing capacity, once again was flourishing in the flood-ravaged areas where the flood victims were getting haircut, shave and gutkha in exchange for the relief materials they were provided with.

Those who have taken shelter in relief camps were catering to their needs in exchange of the relief materials they were getting at the centres. The male members living in the relief camps for the past 20 days were a harried lot.

One of the flood victim Narendra Kumar of Kumarkhand, living in a camp at Banmankhi of Purnia district, stated ''they (the relief providers) give us food and even cloth but they do not give us money to get a shave or haircut or even for that matter to buy gutkha''.

Visibly upset with the condition, Mr Kumar said such victims were adopting the old concept of buying and selling, have evolved a strategy to get their needs fulfilled. The old barter system came as a respite for them and they were getting gutkha, haircut and shave in exchange for the relief materials.

Such groups have not given up their tobacco habit nor were having long hair and beard.

Crowd of customers can be seen at the roadside saloon near the relief camps run by the government. Evolving a barter sytem of their own, they sell out a part of the relief materials and thus the paltry sum earned was being used to buy gutkhha and other things.

While having shave in a temporarily erected roadside saloon, Santosh Kumar, an evacuee justified the practice saying they had no option as they were rendered jobless since the breach developed in Kushaha embankment resulting into catastrophic floods.

Realising the importance of money in life, he said the flood victims were getting food and cloth but for other requirements, money was essential and in want of this, they have adopted the barter system.


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