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‘Coin-bandi’ rumours hits businessmen as banks refuse to take smaller currency coins

Bhubaneswar/Balasore: Change has become a big problem in Soro and Bahanaga blocks of Balasore district as people, government offices and banks are refusing to accept coins.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not banned coins but people here say banks are refusing to take deposits in coins citing lack of chests to keep them.

As per reports, many in the wholesale kirana business here are left with coins worth over Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 each.

“We are in dilemma what to do as neither customers nor banks are accepting small denomination currency coins. If it continues, we have to stop our trading activities,” said a shopkeeper.

“Non-acceptance of coins, especially by banks, is posing serious problem for us. We are accepting coins but customers are reluctant to take them in return; even banks are not accepting which has made it impossible for us to carry out business in the area,” said another trader Gautam Panda.

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A kirana store owner, Purnachandra Khuntia said he has three shops. A total of about Rs 70,000 change is with him. “As customers are not accepting it, banks can help us by accepting coins as deposits,” he said.

“A rumour is making rounds here that the government will ban these coins soon. Out of fear people are not accepting coins. Stockists and people in kirana business are the worst sufferer of the unofficial “coin ban” with each of them sitting with coins worth thousands. The government needs to make people aware no ban of coins is in the offing,” said president of Soro trade union, Santosh Mohanty.

On the other hand, UCO Bank manager Rabi Narayan Panda said, “Small denomination currency coins are meant for circulation in the market and not for hoarding in banks. We had been accepting coins but we have filled chests now; we can accept only after those get empty.”

RBI, via a communication, had earlier said no one can refuse to accept Indian currency in notes or in coins. In case anyone refuses to accept, people should complain to the competent authority.

However, the central bank cannot even take the surplus coins because as per rules it can only exchange soiled/damaged currency notes and coins.

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