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In remote Assam district, coins are the new currency

Gauri Shankar Das, chief manager at the SBI in the district headquarters of Haflong, said the villagers were initially angry at being handed the coins but have now come to embrace them.

demonetisation, currency ban, assam cash problem, coins, cash crunch, cashless economy, balck money, no money, atm no cash, dry atm, long queue, indian express news, india news The backward hill district of Dima Hasao has only 13 bank branches, three of which belong to SBI, which reaches out to at least two clusters of remote villages through an outsourced CSP.

Tribal villagers in and around Harangajao, a rural region about 350 kms from Guwahati in Assam’s Dima Hasao district, are happy at getting coins of various denominations for the Rs 500 notes they had deposited last week.

Gauri Shankar Das, chief manager at the SBI in the district headquarters of Haflong, 37 kms north of Harangajao, said the villagers were initially angry at being handed the coins but have now come to embrace them. “They deposited all their Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes in the first few days. The first few days they were very angry. ‘What have you done with our money?’, they would ask the local the customer sales point (CSP) personnel who handle their accounts on our behalf,” Das said.

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“By Tuesday, we sent Rs 50,000 each to the two CSPs, comprising of notes of Rs 10 and Rs 50 value, apart from coins of one, five and ten rupees. The man in-charge of the CSPs said the villagers are only too happy to get their money back in small denominations,” Das added. He further said that the customers with the CSPs have very small deposits, some as low as just Rs 500.

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The backward hill district of Dima Hasao has only 13 bank branches, three of which belong to SBI, which reaches out to at least two clusters of remote villages through an outsourced CSP.

Das said the SBI CSP at Harangajao, who caters to small farmers and other tribals of about a dozen villages, has, since November 10, collected Rs 500 notes worth about Rs 1 lakh from 1,900-odd customers, and has started distributing coins and notes of smaller denominations since Tuesday.

At the district headquarters of Haflong, the six ATMs and three cash deposit machines (CDM) are yet to reopen, much to the displeasure of customers. “The ATMs and CDMs will take some time to function because they have to be re-adjusted to handle the new Rs 2,000 notes. We have received Rs 20 crore from the RBI on November 10, with the currency notes coming in an assortment of various low denominations,” Das said.

With the district infamous for several major financial scandals, including alleged withdrawal of government accounts by a nexus of politicians, officers and contractors, the SBI is keeping an extra eye on both deposits and cash exchange. “We are watchful so that nobody tries to deposit high amounts of old notes through drivers and domestic workers,” chief manager Das said.

First published on: 17-11-2016 at 12:13:14 am
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