Published On : Wed, Mar 29th, 2017

Scramble to exchange money as March 31 deadline nears

New Delhi: The queues at the designated RBI offices seem to be spilling over as the deadline for exchange of invalid notes by residents who were abroad during the cash ban window draws to a close on Friday.

The anxiety is palpable as people are leaving nothing to chance and lining up at the RBI office in the national capital from the night itself so that they get to deposit the currency next day.

The Reserve Bank has allowed Indian citizens who were abroad during November-December 2016 to exchange the scrapped notes up to March 31 and NRIs up to June 30.

This facility is available at RBI offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Nagpur only. For some reasons or the other, there are several people who have not been able to deposit or exchange the junked notes or have discovered them after the end of the demonetisation period on December 30, who are now making a last-ditch effort.

“Since I am here in India for a short visit, I thought it would be prudent to finish with the RBI work on the first day itself. Therefore, I have come here directly from the airport,” Nikhil Kapoor, a US-based NRI, told a news agency.

He felt that given the queue, it seems impossible that the currency could be exchanged in a day. Disappointed, Ram Kumar, who works in Dubai, said: “There was no information about Red Channel procedure at the airport and I did not get the Customs certificate. So, I am being turned away after standing in the queue for six hours.” He suggested that the RBI should have made arrangements for checking documents of those in the queue so that elimination could be done properly for those not carrying all the papers.

An agitated Kumar said: “This is not black money. It is money that I have earned, so why is the government creating so much fuss?”

Two elderly women Usha, 65, and Sumitra, 80, next to the RBI gate in Delhi, have threatened to commit suicide in case they are unable to get their old notes exchanged. “I have found Rs 41,500 in clothes. The RBI officials are saying they will only exchange the notes of NRIs,” Usha said.