Mizoram villages use coupons in lieu of currency notes

by - 3:54 AM

Several villages in eastern Mizoram under Khawbung rural development block have made use of coupons to cope with the scarcity of lower denomination currency like Rs 100 and Rs 50 in the market. Since the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes last Tuesday, most customers used the demonetised notes while buying their grocery items. By Sunday, the retailers no longer had change in smaller denominations. “In such a situation, the shop owners issued a piece of paper with the amount they have to return written on it to the customers. The customers use this piece of paper to buy things from the same shop,” an official of Khawbung village said. “This system may not be applicable in towns where it’s difficult to recognise every one. In villages everyone knows each other well and there is mutual trust,” he added. For the 25 villages under this Khawbung block, there are only two bank branches of Mizoram Rural Bank, at Khawbung and Bungzung. Once they got plenty of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the retailers travel to either of the two villages to exchange their notes with lower denominations. In the State capital Aizawl too, the scarcity of lower currency notes have hit hard the market. From vegetable vendors to retailers to petrol pumps, the market in Aizawl is hit hard by the shortage of currency notes lower than Rs 500. “Since Wednesday last week, customers used Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 to purchase things. Although I don’t refuse to accept the old notes, I have already run out of change in lower denominations. The banks and post offices are too crowded and the maximum amount that one person can withdraw is very small,” a grocery shop owner Thanpuia said. Even though the petrol pumps are willing to accept the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, they don’t have change. They are forced to make arrangement in such a way that their customers purchase fuel worth Rs 500 or Rs 1,000, no more no less. Small traders appear to have been hit the hardest by shortage of lower currency notes. “I normally earn Rs 300 to Rs 500 per day. Today I only earn Rs 60,” said a street vendor. Meanwhile, SBI officials said a large amount of the new Rs 2,000 notes have arrived Mizoram and the new Rs 500 notes would arrive in the next few days. “We have been working hard to solve the problem of shortage of currency notes. I hope 50 of our 80 ATMs across the State would be operational by tommorrow,” said SBI Aizawl main branch assistant general manager Pradip Kumar Sen.

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