Bhopal market has a ‘currency’ of its own

  • Ashutosh Shukla, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • |
  • Updated: May 07, 2013 09:22 IST

A pan shop owner shows a plastic token used instead of 5 rupee coin at 5 number stop market, in Bhopal. HT Photo/Gagan Nayar

Shopkeepers at 5 No. stop in the Bhopal have floated a currency of their own. In an unprecedented move that goes against all economic logic and also breaks quite a few laws, faced with the shortage of Rs 5 coins, shopkeepers here have introduced a parallel currency - which they are willing to trade with.

The coin, made of plastic, is red in colour and circular in shape. On one side of the coin there is a picture of a deity with 'Ma Nagar Kot Kripa' embossed at the top and 'Rs 5' written at the bottom.

In fact, this unique initiative is that of the liquor shop proprietor in the market and he has the support of other shopkeepers too. They accept the coin 'issued' by the liqour shop and after having collected five or 10 such coins, return them to the liquor shop and take Rs 100 or Rs 50 in lieu of these.

As the boy at the liquor shop counter hands over the coin to a customer, he would say "you can use it anywhere in five no market stop" before you could ask him any question. One of the persons at the counter sits with a bag full of these plastic coins.

"Earlier, we used to give the (neighbouring) paan-wallah Rs 100 extra on every Rs 900 worth of five -rupee notes. But often these notes would be badly soiled and people won't accept them. That is why we decided to have a plastic token kind of thing that would be treated as Rs 5 in the market," said the boy, refusing to disclose his name.

When shown the plastic coin and asked whether he accepted it in lieu of a five-rupee note or coin, the panshop owner, popularly known as 'Kaka' in the market, said: "Why not?" He took the coin with as much seriousness as receiving a crisp Rs 5 note from this reporter.

Not only he, the row of shops selling snacks, stationery, eggs and other edibles on the other side of the liquor shop also accept this coin readily.


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