Demonetisation: Situation in NE cities better than in rural areas

Agartala/Guwahati/Aizawl, Nov 11 (IANS) The unprecedented cash crisis which hit the people due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes is gradually easing in urban areas but persisted in the rural and remote areas of northeast India on Friday.

Senior bank officials claimed on Friday that the currency notes problem is almost over in the cities and urban areas and the situation would become completely normal by Saturday-Sunday, when the banks will remain open to further ease the situation.

As tribals in northeast India are exempted from income tax, the situation in the tribal-dominated states of Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh is different.

Tribal people constitute 28 per cent of northeast India’s 45.58 million population.

“The situation is almost normal in the cities, urban and semi-urban areas and it would get normalised in the rural areas too by tomorrow (Saturday),” United Bank of India’s (UBI) Chief Regional Manager and Deputy General Manager Mahendra Dohare told IANS in Agartala.

He said: “In many places of northeast region, the new Rs 2,000 denomination currency notes are now available. We are yet to get the new Rs 500 notes. I do not know when they will reach us.”

“Also, many ATMs are now functional in cities and urban areas and those in the rural and remote areas would be functional by tomorrow (Saturday) and the day after (Sunday). Banking and RBI (Reserve Bank of India) officials and employees are working extra time to help the customers to cope with the situation,” Dohare added.

In Mizoram too, normalcy is gradually returning, with a section of traders now accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination currency notes, though some are still refusing those.

Zoramdinthanga, Chairman of a local urban body, told reporters in Aizawl: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden announcement of scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was a very wise decision. The decision might create some problems for the people temporarily, but in the long run it would be good for all Indians.”

In Silchar (Southern Assam’s main commercial city), the situation is similar to Tripura.

Assistant General Manager of State Bank of India (SBI) Himanka Bihari Roy and UBI’s Chief Regional Manager Hirendra Narayan Ghosal urged the people not to panic as the situation would become normal soon.

The banks in southern Assam, comprising five districts, are somehow dealing with the situation with the old stock of smaller denomination currencies.

“We are yet to get the new Rs 500 notes. We expect that the RBI in Guwahati and Kolkata would supply the new currency notes and smaller denomination notes soon,” Roy told reporters.

Top Tripura government officials held a series of meetings with officials of RBI and nationalised banks on Thursday and Friday to review the situation.

“The banks and RBI officials have assured the Tripura government that the situation would normalise within the next three-four days. The RBI regional office in Guwahati has despatched truckloads of smaller denomination currency notes by road to various northeastern states to deal with the currency crisis,” a top official of the Tripura Finance Department quoting RBI officials told IANS.