Nitin, a resident of Pitampura, West Delhi, stood in the queue of a government bank branch at Rajendra Place for four hours but the branch ran out of cash by the time his turn came.
In urgent need, he decided to approach a broker. An owner of a snack shop nearby was willing to pay him notes of lower denomination, charging 30% commission. Nikhil got Rs 1,400 in denominations of Rs 50 and Rs 100 against his two redundant Rs 1,000 notes.
Many others have also taken this route to avoid wasting time and effort. Small shop-owners, acting as brokers, are making good use of this opportunity to earn quick money. Since the government withdrew the high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, banks have been receiving new currencies in limited numbers, creating a shortage as demand is huge.
Many touts were seen roaming around the queues in front of a bank branch in Chandni Chowk on Saturday. “I have to leave for an official tour outside Delhi and my wife and kid have no cash with them. I don’t mind standing in queues and getting my old notes converted but there is no surety of getting it. So I decided to approach a dealer outside the branch,” said Adarsh Tripathi, a sales professional.
Some brokers were charging as high as 50% commission to convert defunct currency in lower denomination notes on Thursday, the first day for banks to convert cash. After two days, the commission has come down to 20-30%. There are also larger syndicates of brokers willing to convert high-value defunct notes, mostly black money.