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Winds of change spark shortage fear
- Traders decry decision to close coin counters

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 27: The decision of the Reserve Bank of India to shut down its public note and coin exchange counters all over the country from January 1 has raised apprehensions about shortage of change among bank employees and traders here.

Members of the All-India Reserve Bank Officer’s Association, Bhubnaneswar, apprehend that the decision will affect traders, as they will find it difficult to procure smaller notes and currencies.

“RBI, Bhubaneswar, gives coins worth Rs 3 lakh every day to various traders in the city. Though there are 10 other currency chests here, traders usually visit the RBI branch to get coins as the other currency chests do not give priority to providing short change,” said secretary of the Bhubaneswar unit of the association, Susant Mishra.

The coin exchange counter at RBI functions from 9.45am to 2.15pm.

The association members said 150 businessmen, including small-time vendors, visit the coin exchange counter every day. “The authorities have decided to open six new coin exchange counters in association with six nationalised and privatised banks for exchange of coins,” said a member. He also said that though the 10 currency chests take coins worth Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh at once, they almost never provide them with these.

The city has been reeling from a shortage of coins, because of which shopkeepers return toffees instead of loose change.

The city bus service of the government has also been giving chocolates to deal with the scarcity of coins.

The traders’ association said the RBI should create awareness among traders in the city about this move. “Though it is a good move to open six coin exchange counters, at the same time, the authorities must ensure that the counters dispense sufficient coins. The RBI authorities must notify their decision so that everyone is aware of the move,” said general secretary of the Rajdhani Dainik Haat Byabasayi Mahasngha, Gayadhar Swain.

Six banks — Andhra Bank, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, Indian Bank, UCO Bank and ICICI — will open the counters. It is yet to be decided which branch will have such counters, sources said.