The Manipur government sought more of Rs 100 notes to tide over the situation.
The salaried class of Manipur are in distress. Banks and ATMs are dry. On Saturday, some banks issued notices saying “RBI has not dispatched currencies”. There was no salary on Friday due to the cash shortage hitting banks after the demonetisation. It could be the same again as many small businesses also await to pay their employees, who have no use of cheques or plastic money. Employees of both the government and private sectors are suffering as the cash strapped banks and offices cannot pay them. However, the banks are accepting deposits of all sorts.
The Manipur government sought more of Rs 100 notes to tide over the situation. Quoting statistics, RBI sources and All Manipur Bank Employees Association said that adequate quantity of Rs 100 and smaller denomination notes were allocated to Manipur. However, there was still an acute shortage of these smaller denomination notes, as reports said that through manipulation these notes were being made available to money lenders.
As it is almost impossible to withdraw even Rs 2,000 from the banks and ATMs, many who need substantial amounts for urgent medical and other requirements borrow huge amounts of Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 100 currencies. The interest collected from the borrowers was between 15 to 20 per cent. Gopal Das, who runs a big shop in Imphal city, said, “There are 20 employees in my establishment. From this month I tried to offer them cheques. However, they declined to accept it.”
Boynao, an employee said, “I need hard cash as I have to send it home. There is no banking facility in my village, and cheque is meaningless to my parents, who are not literate.”
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to bring black money stashed in the foreign countries. So he resorted to demonetisation.”
“The central government cannot give enough cash even for Manipur, which has less than 28 lakh population,” he said. Most of the traders in the state are suffering. Some of the shop keepers had shut down their shops. The border trade at Moreh is also affected. N. Robin, a trader said, ” As we use tokens to avoid cash, there is little use for the four bank branches at Moreh. We had never deposited big amounts with the banks and now we cannot, as big deposits are subject to scrutiny.”
Meanwhile, following mob violence at three branches of State Bank of India, the bank authorities said that it would be difficult to operate without additional armed policemen.
There are armed policemen deployed, in addition to bank guards in view of frequent heists by militants.