DEMONETISATION has had its effect even on troops serving in far-flung areas of the country. As a result, the Army has taken steps to ensure that soldiers are able to exchange Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes at their units itself.
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Sources in the Army’s 14 Corps, deployed in Ladakh, said in the initial days of demonetisation, soldiers going on leave faced difficulty in getting their notes exchanged as they were already on the way to their respective hometowns. Several such soldiers also landed up at the three transit camps in Chandigarh and were hard-pressed to get the exchange done. Troops, proceeding on leave from forward areas in Ladakh, first arrive at these transit camps before heading to their final destinations.
“However, the situation has stabilised and the Field Post Offices of the Army are functioning in tandem with the State Bank of India branches in order to ensure smooth exchange of currency. These special help desks have also been set up at forward locations in Ladakh as well as at the camps in Chandigarh,” said a senior officer.
Senior officers informed that there is much less cash in hand of an average jawan or officer deployed in a field area as all his needs are met by his unit. “Need for cash arises while travelling on leave and the teething problems in this regard have been dealt with,” said an officer.
Arrangements have also been made to get the cash held by the respective units in the form of unit or regimental funds in the respective regimental chests exchanged.
While troops serving at their unit locations are making use of this facility on their own, arrangements have been made for jawans in remote areas as they cannot come down to the base headquarters till their duty is over.
For troops serving at Siachen Glacier or in the Kargil and Dras sectors, respective units are helping in coordinating the currency notes of these jawans lying with their personal belongings back at the unit.
Also, since troops serve at Siachen for three months at a stretch, they would not be able to come down by the December 30 deadline to exchange currency.
“In such a scenario, respective units are getting in touch with such jawans in order to get access to such cash and get it converted to other denominations or to deposit it in their respective bank accounts,” said an Army officer.
The salaries of officers and jawans are directly credited into their bank accounts and most troops at non-family stations have an arrangement allowing their wives or other family members access their bank accounts when money is needed.
The new guidelines for cash withdrawal are also applicable to the military units and higher formations and these were being adhered to, said a senior officer.
“Since cash disbursement at the units is on a limited scale, the arrangements put in place through Field Post Offices and local bank branches is functioning at an adequate level and pace,” the officer added.
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