Border markets face acute shortage of IRs100 notes

- Jitendra Sah, BIRATNAGAR

Jan 3, 2017-

Shortage of 100-rupee Indian currency (IC) notes—triggered by the Indian government’s decision to pull 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes out of circulation—has hit markets on both sides of Nepal-India border.

“Finding gold is easier than finding a 100-rupee IC note,” said Prem Rajgadia, a local trader.

According to experts, consumers and traders had to rely solely on the 100-rupee notes given India introduced new 500- and 2,000-rupee notes in limited numbers after the demonetisation, resulting in a shortage of the 100-rupee notes.

Also, the shortage prompted traders to hoard the 100-rupee notes, further worsening the crisis, said Ramu Paudel, Regional Office Director of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) in Biratnagar.

According to NRB, after the demonetisation, India has stopped supplying IC notes to Nepal. As a result, NRB’s Biratnagar office has lowered the limit on IC exchange facility to IRs1,300 per person per day.

It has also boosted scrutiny of service seekers following reports that Nepalis, after exchanging IC notes from NRB, were selling the bills to black-marketeers at rates higher than the official rate, according to Paudel.

Recently, a local trader was duped of Rs120,000 by a person claiming to be an NRB officer and promising him to deliver IRs75,000.

Paudel said the office’s decision to lower the IC exchange limit also helped discourage illegal currency trade. 

“It is now no more profitable for the illegal traders, so they have stopped queuing up,” he said, adding this has also come as a huge relief for those who are genuinely in need of IC notes.

The NRB office used to exchange up to IRs1.5 million per day, but the figure now has come down to less than a million. 

“This does not mean we have stopped the IC exchange service, but we are more focusing on those who are in genuine need. Those with valid proofs can still get up to IRs25,000 per person,” said Paudel.

He said those with disabilities, old and sick can avail the exchange service via their authorised representatives. 

Besides the Biratnagar office, NRB is also providing the exchange facility from its offices in Kakadbhitta and Illam, and from Rastriya Banijya Bank’s branches 

in Bhadrapur, Inarwa and Rajbiraj.

Published: 03-01-2017 08:51

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