Thousands of people spent many fruitless hours in serpentine queues outside ATMs across Nepal on Wednesday and Thursday, as banks ran out of cash, forcing them to shut these money dispensers.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Nepal’s central bank, blamed a French company, which bagged the contract to print Nepali currency notes, for the mess, saying it had missed the delivery deadline by two months.
To tide over the situation, the government ordered the release of Rs 94 crore (about INR 59.83 crore) technically flawed notes it had rejected three years ago.
Following severe crunch of currency notes, banks in Kathmandu had, on Tuesday, dispensed Indian currency for which the central bank drew flak from several quarters. However, NRB has denied asking commercial banks to do so.
The situation was exacerbated by the ongoing Dashain (Dussehra) festival when people traditionally withdraw and spend large sums of money.
Nepalese Finance Minister Surendra Pandey on Wednesday called an emergency meeting, which decided to airlift the delayed consignment from the France at the earliest.
According to the ministry, Rs 1,400 crore (INR 891 crore) will reach Kathmandu in five days.
The government has instructed the central bank to distribute the airlifted cash to the banks during Dashain festival.