Rashmi Ranjan

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already issued an advisory stating that even after the withdrawal of Rs 2000 from circulation, the currency will continue to be a legal tender. The bank has set September 30 deadline to exchange the currency at banks. 

However, jewellery shops, filling stations and other business establishments across Odisha witnessed a huge rush following the decision of the RBI with people resorting to panic buying.

According to sources, a day after the central bank’s announcement, many gold jewellery retail outlets in the State witnessed a constant flow of customers with Rs 2,000 notes to buy the yellow metal.

Similarly, the daily use of Rs 2000 currency notes at the filling stations in Odisha witnessed an eight-fold rise as customers can be seen filling fuel in their vehicle using the big notes.

“The number of Rs 2000 notes we receive daily has increased by eight times after the RBI’s decision. This is due to panic among customers. The denomination cannot be exchanged at petrol pumps, but one can buy fuel with the note. We are finding it difficult when a customer after filling petrol for Rs 100 is giving Rs 2000 note in order to exchange the note,” said Sanjay Lath, General Secretary of Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association.

A retail shop owner said, “Most of the buyers are preferring UPI payments these days and I receive 70 per cent of payment through this mode. But after RBI’s announcement, people are coming with Rs 2000 denomination to buy groceries.”

“People are yet to recover from 2016 demonetisation shock. So, many traders are reluctant to accept Rs 2000 notes,” said Sudhakar Panda, general secretary of the Odisha Traders’ Association.

“Those who are in illegal possession of Rs 2000 notes may fear to go to banks to exchange the currency. Even if they buy gold worth Rs 2 lakh or more, they need to provide their PAN card. Ultimately, they cannot disguise their transaction,” said Trinath Lenka, market expert.

Earlier yesterday, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das had said the decision to withdraw Rs 2000 notes from circulation was part of currency management and banks have been instructed to make necessary arrangements to exchange the currency starting today (Tuesday).

"Banks are advised to provide appropriate infrastructure at the branches such as shaded waiting space, drinking water facilities, etc. considering the summer season," the Central bank wrote to the Chairman/Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of All Banks.

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