With the country reeling under severe cash crunch as a result of PM Modi’s demonetisation move, people in border areas of Assam are opting for Bhutanese currency which is now worth 25 per cent more.
Media reports showed that areas near to the Bhutan border in Kokrajhar district of the state are using the Bhutanese currency for transactions.
In the border area of Dadguri, Bhutanese currency is easily accepted as retailers and grocery shop owners get their stocks from Bhutan. Here, people from Bhutan come to buy vegetables, food items and other essentials, and traders from Bhutan come down to trade various items.
However, the use of Bhutanese currency is very limited and is mostly confined for dealings across the border. However, post the Modi government’s demonetisation move, people are compelled to use this currency to buy goods.
An Indian note of Rs 500 is exchanged for Rs 400 worth of Bhutanese currency, while a Bhutanese Rs 500 note is held for its face value.
According to locals, nearest banks and ATMs are located 50-60 km away and it is not a surety that will get them exchanged even after standing in long queues.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on November 18 dubbed as a “serious issue” the long queues outside banks and post offices. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave said, “People are affected. People are frantic. People have the right to approach the courts,” noting that there are difficulties and “can you (the Centre) dispute”.
The apex court had on November 15 refused to stay the government’s demonetisation notification, but asked it to spell out the steps taken to minimise public inconvenience.