Published On : Sat, Nov 3rd, 2012
Latest News | By Nagpur Today Nagpur News

No change sir…Have chocolate candy please!!! – Nagpur Coin Racket

Nagpur News: No change sir…Have chocolate candy please!!!  This is what all of us might have heard from the vendor at the cash counter after we would finish buying our daily needs, or shopping at the malls, dining at the restaurant or even after relishing spicy chaat at small eateries. The buyer has to helplessly end up taking away the chocolate candy instead of getting the change. However, if you counter the vendor’s offer, you would probably be asked to shell out the change which you too might not have.

Coins have literally disappeared from the retail markets in Nagpur. Everywhere the traders are facing severe scarcity of coins, adding to the woes of customers. Except in Itwari, the wholesale hub of Nagpur, where illegal trade of coins flourish. As a matter of fact, a huge cache of coins are piled up either in this grey market or send across neighboring states for art purposes.

The functioning of Reserve Bank of India is now under question for this one way flow of the coins. Officially. the coins are meant to be issued by RBI, as and when needed by the traders or retailers. However, the procedure to derive coins from RBI is so complex that it leads many of them to Itwari, where they end up paying Rs 120 for getting coins of Rs 100. By this simple arithmetic the size of the trade can be understood, given the coins worth lakhs of rupees are required daily to cater the demand in the market. More often, the traders complain about the RBI stating the shortage of coins in the bank. On the other hand, it lefts the needy wondering as to where the freshly minted coins in Itwari come from?

Shopkeepers and business owners often complain of large queues at the change counters of RBI and other issuing banks. While banks cite the reason for shortage as the irregular supply from RBI, the parent bank also causes a great deal of inconvenience to the change seekers. Earlier, the traders had to furnish the details including the letter heads of their firm and pan card number for getting the change. RBI would then provide the change not exceeding the amount of Rs 300-400 and that too consumes long hours. Under such circumstances the traders are forced to seek easier ways.

One of the shopkeepers informed on condition of anonymity that whenever he visits RBI to seek change, he finds great number of agents mushrooming at RBI. These touts offer him to get as much change as he wanted, provided he is ready to shell out some extra amount. He smelled rat in the practice and also pointed towards a big nexus in the whole game.

Sources informed that neighboring state Madhya Pradesh thrives on its art through large scale production of art pieces with the use of large number of coins. Idols and Jewelry specially crafted from coins find great number of buyers in metro cities. Every year, big business is registered through sale of these coin creations at various art exhibitions in big cities. The coins from the city are reportedly being transported in bulk to the tribal belts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the rustic ornaments are crafted out of it. Sources informed that quite often sacks full of coins are seen being sent to cities like Raipur, Indore and Bhopal, by  the travel buses plying from Geetanjali Talkies Square. These coins are also supplied at premium rates to various toll plazas located on states’ borders.

A shopkeeper Pankaj Jain said, “Whenever we require coins, we need go to Itwari Market and buy it paying 20% extra on the net amount. And I am not the only one shelling out extra bucks. This is the situation faced by almost every shopkeeper. Under such circumstances we have to either bear this loss or invite the customers’ anguish by offering them chocolate candies instead of change against their bills.”

Reeling under the scarcity of change, many of the shopkeepers have even rounded off the prices of the products they sell. Even the vegetable vendors are often seen asking to round off the price by providing some extra to the customers. However, same is not the case with many of the big retailers selling the branded products which are generally priced in odd numbers.

Abdul Hafeez, owner of a popular food junction Al Zam Zam located beside bustling Central Avenue Road, said, “Whereas it takes entire day to collect a change of petty amount of Rs 300-400 from RBI, the coins we receive are just peanuts not suffice to meet our everyday counter demand. Since the restaurant remains crowded for most part of the week, we have to face embarrassment by treating them with chocolate bars. This also leads to routine verbal exchange from the customers. Actually this is hampering our rapport with the customers.”