Demonetisation in Imphal: Rs 2000 identity crisis

Scarcity of notes of lower denomination has left hawkers and shop owners with hardly any change to pay back customers walking in with the new Rs 2000 note.

Written by Oinam Anand | Imphal | Updated: November 19, 2016 8:57 am
demonetisation, new 2000 note, rs 2000 note, 2000 rs note, Rs 2000 note features, Rs 2000 fake note, fake note Rs 2000, Imphal, Imphal demonetisation, Imphal news A woman checks her Rs 2,000 note at Khwairamband bazaar. (Express Photo by Oinam Anand)

Already reeling under an economic blockade on supply lines, imposed by the United Naga Council from November 1, the Centre’s move to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes has brought trading at Khwairamband bazaar, fondly called ‘Ima Keithel’, to near-minimal.

What has made the situation more skewed is that banks have primarily issued Rs 2,000 notes since they reopened after the demonetisation announcement on November 8. And these notes are hardly welcomed with enthusiasm at Khwairamband, India’s largest all-women market where all shops are owned and operated by women.

“Is this real currency? Will this get banned too?” asked Manitombi, 66, as she showed the only currency she possesses as of now – the new pink note. That’s one question heard often in the market. Scarcity of notes of lower denomination has left hawkers and shop owners with hardly any change to pay back customers walking in with the new Rs 2000 note.

Manitombi, who sells bamboo and reed items, said she is struggling not just with customers bringing the now-scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, but also those coming with Rs 2000 note. “I am losing business. I have been accepting them (scrapped big notes) but artisans from whom I buy are refusing to accept either demonetised notes or the new Rs 2,000 note,” she said. “Like me, they are also sceptical whether it is genuine.”

Normally buzzing with customers, the market, now attending to fewer people, is abuzz with rumours about the new Rs 2000 note. “I saw a woman refuse the new note. She told the customer that it’s fake,” said Jadunath Giri, originally from Gopalganj in Bihar who has been working as a porter in the market for nearly four decades. Giri said his daily wage of Rs 400 is now down to Rs 100.

Admitting a “shortage”, S Kaikhanthang, chief manager (administration) at SBI’s regional business office here, said, “We understand there is shortage of 100-rupee notes, as most ATMs are giving out the new Rs 2000, we are expecting another consignment soon and will be able to resolve the problem.”

Kaikhanthang said Manipur has received Rs 328 crore since demonetisation was implemented, of which only Rs 8 crore was in 100-rupee notes. “So far we have managed to recalibrate 98 ATMs in in the district (Imphal), and they are now able to dispense the new currency notes,” he said.

But for now, the struggle with change continues at Khwairamband. “People come to buy 1 kg tomatoes with a 2000-rupee note. I have to turn them away…I’m also running out of vegetables to sell due to the economic blockade,” said Sh. Noyonsakhi.

Many hawkers are exchanging scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes at a loss of 20 per cent from illegal money traders, who operated from one corner of the market till Wednesday, when a raid by the police and various enforcement agencies removed them. Sh. Lakhmi Devi, 65, however, said, “I cannot afford to exchange an old Rs 500 note for Rs 400. I’m a small fish seller, I don’t make much. Only the rich can afford it.”

The corner where the illegal money traders sat was instead crowded by anxious customers, looking to exchange old notes.

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First Published on: November 19, 2016 2:15 am
  1. A
    Nov 19, 2016 at 7:06 am
    I have both the notes. Very poor quality. these notes betray the intention of govt to fight counterfeit notes. Paper is very poor quality. With minimal efforts more counterfeit notes can be printed. Surely this is the not the way to fight counterfeit notes.
    1. A
      Nov 19, 2016 at 7:07 am
      stop your bhakti dude. Govt already confessed no new security feature is added.
      1. A
        Nov 19, 2016 at 10:04 am
        एक व्यक्ति 350 सांसद होने के बावजूद - देश के सामने हाथ जोड़कर समर्थन माँग रहा है ...... किस बात के लिये ?????? देश से काले धन की व्यवस्था खत्म करने के लिये !!!! विश्व भर में घूम-घूम कर भारतवंशियों से ायता माँग रहा है ! 20 घँटे काम कर रहा है ...... होली , दीपावली , ईद सैनिकों के बीच मना रहा है, 3 साल से हर रविवार आपकी छोटी - छोटी बातो पर मन की बात कर रहा है ! जिसकी माँ 8×10 के कमरे में रहती है और भाई किराना की दुकान चलता हो , क्या चाहते हैं आप?? किस पैगम्बर की तलाश है?? एक बात जान लीजिये यदि मोदी जी आंतकवाद , काला धन , भरष्टाचार नही खत्म कर पाये तो कोई माई का लाल कर भी नही पायेगा , वहीँ जंतर मन्तर पर कैंडिल लेके चक्कर काटोगे ..... ..... नजरो का फर्क है साहब देश की गरीब जनता नोट बदलने के लिए नही देश बदलने के लिए लाईन में खडी है .....
        1. M
          Nov 19, 2016 at 6:20 am
          1. R
            Nov 19, 2016 at 3:05 am
            It is a fact that new notes of Rs 2000 and rs 500 look like fake notes or play notes .It may be much easier to make counterfeit notes of new currency as compared to eatlier notes .If a coloured photocopy of new note can be ped as a genuine note ,one can imagine ,that not much care has been taken in designing the notes.
            1. R
              Nov 19, 2016 at 9:18 am
              Confessed? To you? In your wet dream?
              1. R
                rajan luthra
                Nov 19, 2016 at 1:09 am
                This situation is true not only for Imphal but many other cities too. I have not thus far seen either of the 2 new currency notes but gather that the white edges of the 2000 bills is making people suious of their genuineness.
                1. S
                  Nov 19, 2016 at 9:24 am
                  Will the common man be able to identify these "lot more security considerations ". After all they are going to use the notes and unless they know the fake from the real, these notes can easily be reintroduced into the system.
                  1. S
                    Nov 19, 2016 at 1:30 am
                    It is cringworthy to see and hold this 2000 note. It looks so small for its denomination. It looks like a fake note given free with kid's toffee in roadside shops. .Its paper is so thin and looks poor quality like photocopy paper. stan will find it easier to copy this note and recover all its demonetized notes losses soon.
                    1. V
                      VJ Singh
                      Nov 19, 2016 at 4:19 am
                      The new notes do look poorly designed.
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