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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Demonetised Rs 500/1,000 notes still ‘accepted’ in Ranchi

Retailers, grocers, restaurateurs and others continue to accept the invalid Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which are paid in bulk and in advance, and show it as their cash-in-hand.

ranchi Updated: Dec 24, 2016 22:13 IST
Saurav Roy
Saurav Roy
Hindustan Times
The Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes shown in picture have been scrapped as legal tender since November 8, but retailers, grocers and others continue to accept them.
The Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes shown in picture have been scrapped as legal tender since November 8, but retailers, grocers and others continue to accept them.

At a newly-opened restaurant on Kanke Road in Ranchi, a middle-aged woman walks up to the counter with her dinner bill in hand on Friday evening.

“Bhaiya, naya note nahi hai, purana note le lo (I don’t have new currency notes, please accept old ones),” she tells the restaurant manager.

He politely asks her if she can make the payment by debit or credit card, but is pressed to accept the old notes. She goes on to ask him to take Rs 10,000, in scrapped Rs 1,000 notes, and keep it as advance after deducting the bill amount for further dine-ins.

The manager takes out a register, which already has a few names, writes her name, date and the amount deposited.

“Why should I refuse if she is paying in advance? We can deposit it in the bank,” the restaurant manager reasoned.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November 8 announcement scrapping Rs 500/1,000 notes as legal tender, in a bid to check corruption and undeclared wealth, and usher in digital transactions, may not find many takers in several parts of Jharkhand.

Retailers, grocers, restaurateurs continue to accept the invalid notes—paid in bulk and advance.

“Many businessmen think that they have to deposit only the old currency notes to show their cash-in-hand as per income tax records,” said Pradip Jain, director, Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

He said there was a crisis of old notes in the market here, but refused to accept that the practice was prevalent across Ranchi.

Cut to December 15 evening. A man walks into a wine shop on Station Road, takes a bottle of whisky worth Rs 1,000 and gives Rs 5,000—all in Rs 500 notes—in advance. A banner in the shop clearly states old currency notes are not accepted, but the retailer doesn’t refuse.

“We have to run our business. Several customers come with such offers every day, it’s not wise to refuse all of them,” he said.

This practice, businessmen say, may not pose troubles for them since Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 can easily be justified while depositing in bank.

Ranchi sub-divisional officer Aditya Kumar Anand said that even if the practice was prevalent, the district administration cannot take actions unless transactions happen in front of them.

“How can one prove that the old notes with any businessman came to his possession after demonetisation? It is practically impossible. At the end, he will deposit it in the bank and the bank officials will take a call,” he said.

A businessman from Upper Bazar, requesting anonymity, said only those businessmen were accepting old notes who had to show cash-in-hand in their income tax records.

“Initially, we accepted the banned notes in order to avoid loss. We are a little more cautious now since the RBI might make any new rule any moment,” said a grocery store owner at Pe Pee Compound.

The BJP-government in the state too has been pushing for a cashless economy in Jharkhand.

Chief minister Raghubar Das launched a “Cashless Jharkhand” campaign on December 2 and asked all deputy commissioners to ensure at least one block in their district entirely adopted cashless way of transactions by December 28.

First Published: Dec 24, 2016 22:13 IST

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