• Nagaland seeks 300 crore lower denomination notes from RBI
• It may take days for replenishment, says SBI official
Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 11
The demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies has put banking institutions and the common-man in a very sticky situation, which might turn into a full-blown crisis.
On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the sudden announcement on demonetization of Rs 500 & Rs 1000 currencies in an effort to curb circulation of black money. Banking institutions remained closed the next day and resumed business from November 10.
On Friday, there was huge rush in the banks, particularly in State Bank of India branches as people in the hundreds thronged to deposit the demonetized notes and withdraw usable ones.
At SBI branches, customers were given a mixed bag of Rs 100, Rs 50 denominations along with the newly printed Rs 2000 notes. By evening, it was learnt that currencies of lower denominations had run out of stock.
Assistant General Manager of Regional Office, SBI, Thangboi Lunkim speaking to The Morung Express on Friday confirmed this. “Whatever we had, we have already given out. The problem of availability of lower denomination notes were there from before, but it has become more prominent with the demonetization of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currencies, Lunkim pointed out.
On Thursday alone, the bank had given out more than Rs 17 crore. On Friday, many of the public and private banking institutions were handing out only Rs 2000 notes to its customers.
According to the SBI official, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Guwahati Branch has also run out of Rs 100 currency notes and other lower denominations with demand coming in from all the seven NE states.
A meeting of banking officials along with Nagaland Chief Secretary and the Finance Department was also held in Kohima today to assess the situation. The outcome of the meeting was that an intent letter was dispatched to the RBI for 300 crore of lower denominations for the state.
Lunkim however said it may take days for the money to reach the state if the RBI gives consent to their request. Besides, the money has to be imported from RBI, Kolkata, where the currencies are printed. “Transfer of funds takes time. There are number of logistics to take care of – booking, security and other arrangements which have to be coordinated with different agencies,” Lunkim revealed.
Lunkim, who looks after the five districts namely Dimapur, Kohima, Kiphire, Peren and Phek said SBI has already received 120 crore of Rs 2000 notes for these districts. The SBI is also coordinating with NST department to dispatch currencies to the districts of Peren, Kiphire and Phek via chopper.
Only a handful of the ATMs in Dimapur were functioning on Friday but were closed after cash ran out within no time. The SBI official said 70% of the ATMs have been configured (evacuating of devalued notes and putting in new ones) and by Saturday most of them would be up and running. However, with the scarcity of Rs 100 notes, customers can expect only Rs 2000 notes to be withdrawn from the money dispensing booths.
working over time
Since the announcement of the demonetization, employees in the banking sector have been slogging overtime and undergoing head racking time. “We called back all the employees who took leave, and even those on sick leave,” Lunkim stated.
Since the last few days, the employees are in the office by breakfast time and leave office only at 9-10 pm. At the SBI branch Lerie Colony, Kohima, the staff were compelled to work till 1AM in the morning to reconcile payment and receipt.
People find Rs 2000
Customers experienced on Friday that the newly introduced currency Rs 2000 is so “intimidating” that some people are not ready to accept it as legal tender.
At one the billing office of the Electrical department in Dimapur, a cashier refused to accept the Rs 2000 currency from one of the consumer who wanted to pay electricity bill. According to witness, the cashier looked at the Rs 2000 notes “doubtfully” and then asked the consumer if he had other currencies of the devalued kind- Rs 500 and Rs 1000 with him. Then the cashier handed over the Rs 2000 currency and accepted the demonetized currencies.
Due to acute shortage of small changes, Samuel, a graphic designer, spent the whole of Friday in the market trying to buy something with the Rs 2000, without any success.
“I went from shop to shop but they (shopkeepers) did not have enough change to give me in return of the Rs 2000,” he stated.