NRB tightens controls on exchange of IC

- Jitendra Sah, Biratnagar

Nov 20, 2015-

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has tightened controls on the exchange of Indian currency amid an unwarranted surge in demand and a growing trend of selling it on the black market.  

The central bank has slashed the amount of Indian currency it issues daily to Rs2,500 each to 175 persons from Rs5,000 each to 150 persons. Each person is permitted to exchange Indian currency once a week.

According to the bank, the move has been intended to control the misuse of Indian currency as many opportunist traders had been accumulating it to sell at a higher rate.

Currency brokers have been luring unemployed people to stand in line at currency exchange counters by offering them a commission.

Before the new strict provision was implemented, such people used to queue up at the exchange counter from morning till evening. “As the trend of exchanging Indian currency to sell at a higher rate has spread, we were forced to take immediate measures to control it,” said NRB spokesperson Trilochan Pangeni.

The central bank has also issued a notice that the relevant documents will have to be produced to obtain Indian rupees. Previously, customers only had to show a copy of their citizenship certificate.

Nepalis travel to India mostly for medical treatment, pilgrimage and visiting relatives. Since the Tarai unrest, the central bank branch in Biratnagar has seen a long queue of people wanting to exchange Indian currency.  

Pangeni said that the currency exchange control would remain only for a temporary period. NRB’s move has created difficulties for the people.

Bijay Paswan, a local of Katari in Morang, said that the bank had reduced the amount of Indian currency provided to customers due to the long lines. He added that he had to visit his relatives in India urgently. “As NRB’s currency exchange quota is not adequate, I also made my father stand in the line.”

Likewise, Pretiya Devi, a local of Dadarberia in Morang, who was standing in the queue in front of the exchange counter, said she was taking her daughter to India for medical treatment. “Due to difficulties in transportation here, I have not been able to travel to Dharan and Kathmandu. So, I decided to take my daughter to Purniya in Bihar,” she said.

Another customer Mina Devi Mandal said she had asked two relatives to stand in the line too as she needed more Indian currency for her daughter’s treatment in India.

Customers have to obtain a token from the bank to get the exchange facility. They also have to submit original copies of their citizenship certificate and other documents to exchange Indian banknotes.

Published: 20-11-2015 08:39

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