Be ready: Govt to banks

Addl counters, security to be in place; shops, fuel stations in city run out of change

SHILLONG: The State government has asked all banks to set up additional counters from Thursday to tackle the rush of customers.
In a meeting with the heads of State Bank of India, the Reserve Bank of India and other financial institutions on Wednesday, Additional Chief Secretary Y. Tsering said banks must ensure that all customers visiting them to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are catered to.
He also asked all branches of SBI and UBI to start special counters, besides the regular ones.
The financial institutions in the city have been directed to stock adequate Rs 100 notes.
While Rs 2,000 notes will be available from Thursday, the new Rs 500 notes are yet to arrive.
Security will be stepped up at all bank branches for safe transaction.
Governor lauds
PM’s ‘dynamic’ move
Governor V. Shanmuganathan on Wednesday called the decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations “dynamic” and lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this.
“The decision is a dynamic one and can curb financing of terrorism through the proceeds of fake Indian currency notes. This can help eliminate black money and corruption.       “This step can effectively stop funds from subversive activities like smuggling of arms, drugs and espionage. I feel India is moving fast with safety and security of every Indian to achieve greater heights of development,” he said in Tura where he is on a three-day visit.
Banks open on Saturday, Sunday
An RBI directive on Wednesday said all public sector banks should be open on Saturday and Sunday. Many lenders across the country are extending working hours and expanding credit limits fearing a rise in footfall. ATMs will, however, remain closed on Thursday.
IDBI branch in Shillong sent out messages to customers informing about its working hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Business takes a hit
The Centre’s decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on Tuesday has made common people jittery in Shillong and many residents were seen scurrying to shops and petrol pumps on Wednesday for exchanging the obsolete denominations.
While many shops in the city accepted the denominations a few of them were sceptical. Some shops and hotels refused saying they were running out of change.
Palace Restaurant at Khyndailad refused to accept Rs 500 notes saying they were giving away change since morning and were short of Rs 100 notes.
Uncle’s Shop in Khyndailad, however, refused customers who gave the scrapped denominations. Owner N. Mordani said they have stopped accepting the notes but added that the decision totally affected their business on Wednesday as people are finding it difficult after Tuesday’s announcement.
H. Ahmed of RB Store said the shop accepted the denominations “only if the customer purchased goods worth Rs 300-400”. He too agreed that business was tepid due to the currency confusion.
Many chemist shops, like Choudhury Pharmacy in Police Bazar, accepted the notes on Thursday.
The owner of Eden Restaurant and Hotel said they were accepting the notes “as they could not return customers in time of need”.
“Many of them came on Tuesday and now if they don’t have smaller denomination notes then we have no other option but to accept it,” he said.
A woman who owns a bakery shop in the city said she was not returning buyers but soon after ran out of change.
Several residents were in a quandary over cash deposits. “I have around Rs 2 lakh cash comprising Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations and I am tense about how many times I will have to go to the bank to fully deposit the money,” a woman said.
While hospitals in Shillong accepted both Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, a few petrol pumps refused to entertain customers. An employee at the 3rd Mile petrol pump said in the evening, “People have been coming since the morning and exchanging notes and now we have run out of change.”

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