Cash crunch still continues after demonetisation: Chidambaram

Kolkata: Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday said the cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation is still continuing in many places in the country even though it has eased to a extent in the metros.

“There are 5,199 automated teller machines in all the northeastern states put together. Out of which 3,645 are in Assam… half of them have no money. I was in Tirumala (Andhra Pradesh) and every bank has a branch at Tirumala. There is no money. Even today, 40 per cent of ATMs have not been stacked with currency,” he said.

“The cash crunch has eased for those in metropolitan cities and for those in Uttar Pradesh. Cash crunch has not eased in Nagaland, Odisha, remote areas of Bihar…,” the senior Congress leader said at Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet here.

As for money-laundering through Jan Dhan accounts, he said: “Twenty-five per cent accounts and earlier financial inclusion accounts are still zero-balance accounts. So, there is no money-laundering in these accounts. In the remaining accounts, the average money being laundered is Rs 27,000. In small number of cases, huge amounts were passed around.”

The evidence does not point to wholesale use of Jan Dhan accounts for money laundering, Chidambaram added.