IC shortage hits general publicShortage of Indian currency (IC) notes has affected the general public and traders living in areas bordering India.
Shortage of Indian currency (IC) notes has affected the general public and traders living in areas bordering India.
People queue up at the Nepal Rastra Bank’s (NRB) branch office here every day just to return empty handed.
Bharat Sonar, a resident of Gahawa, who is planning to visit India for treatment of his relative, said he waited for two hours in queue at the NRB branch to exchange Indian rupee, but to no avail. “NRB officials said I have to wait for one more day to get IC,” he said.
Jahir Hawari of Gahawa, who was also seen queuing up at the NRB branch, said he was seeking IRs20,000 for a pilgrimage trip to India.
“I don’t think I am going to get IC,” he said, adding they were forced to depend on the NRB office for IC as the regulator shut down the lone money changer in the region.
The NRB branch only provides IRs2,500 per person per day to 200 individuals. Roshan Kumar Sigdel, deputy director at the NRB branch, said they were rationing the IC notes as they had limited stock and the demand was high. “The situation is such that we will run out of the current IC stock, if not replenished, in the next two weeks,” he said.
This is not the first time the region is facing IC shortage, but the Indian government’s decision to pull 500- and 1,000-rupee IC notes from circulation four days ago worsened the crisis.
As IC notes, in denominations of IRs500 and IRs1,000, held by the people have now been rendered useless, the number of people seeking notes of lower denominations or exchanging their old bills has gone up, thus boosting the overall demand for IC.
Dilip Raj Karki of Murli, Birgunj said he had exchanged IRs10,000 worth of now-useless IC notes to visit New Delhi. “I do not know what to do with these notes,” he said.
Pradeep Kumar Kedia, president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce, said the central bank has to make arrangements so as to provide relief to the general public. “As NRB is holding the money-exchange monopoly here, it should be responsible to address the people’s problems,” he said.
The IC shortage has also given rise to black-marketeering. According to a trader from Adarshanagar, Birgunj, black-marketers were charging up to Rs180 for IRs100, while the official exchange rate is Rs160 against IRs100.
On Saturday, the police detained Ranjit Sarraf of Maisthan on charge of carrying a large amount of domestic and Indian currencies.