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A doctor of Dharmapuri district has bought a Maruti car at the price of Rs.5.75 lakhs. What’s new about that? Nothing, of course, except that his mode of payment was rather eccentric.
The doctor belonging to Arur area paid the price in cash. He obviously didn’t care for digital currency. While the value of the cash was Rs.5.75 lakh, its weight was 450 kg. That meant lugging all the coins to the dealer and counting it.
Normally car buyers either count on bank loans or issue cheques if they use their own money. But, Vetrivel, an Ayurvedic doctor, bucking the trend, went to the showroom on June 18th, 2022, and handed over his bundles of 10-rupee coins amounting to Rs. 5.75 lakh.
One may wonder at the point of this massive exercise. Apart from practising Ayurveda, Vetrivel runs a playschool for children. Having decided that he was going to aggregate 10 rupee coins to buy a car, he insisted that school fees be paid only in 10-rupee coins from parents of the children. He also accumulated 10 rupee coins from banks over time, changing currency notes for coins.
With the target amount reached, he approached the Triveni car showroom and booked a Maruti EECO, insisting on paying the price only in 10-rupee coins. The dealer was initially taken aback and later, getting its act together, consulted banks. Finally it agreed to the buyer’s condition, not before the banks said it was kosher.
Like the staff at a temple who often need to count coins and notes offered by devotees, about 20 employees of the car dealership counted the coins for three hours before handing over the car to the Ayurvedic doctor
In what looked like a scene from the Tamil film Natpu that has Vijayakumar and Sarathkumar pouring out currency notes on the floor of a showroom in small denominations from a big jute bag, Vetrivel had his collection packed in bundles and transported by van to the firm.
Like the staff at a temple who often need to count coins and notes offered by devotees, about 20 employees of the car dealership counted the coins for three hours before handing over the car to the Ayurvedic doctor. At the end of the massive counting exercise, the car was handed over to the Ayurvedic doctor.
Asked about his act bordering on the eccentric, Vetrivel said, “What I did was intended to bring the practical disrepute of the 10-rupee coin to the attention of our society. The Reserve Bank of India has not indeed made this denomination coin invalid. But, to all intents and purposes, it is invalid. While in buses, provision stores and vegetable stalls, 10-rupee notes are accepted willingly, the 10-rupee coins, except one or two, are not welcome. My act of buying a car, using only the 10-rupee coins is meant to drive home to all that this coin too is legal tender.”
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