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Choppers fly in notes for State

Ranchi, Nov. 11: Two helicopters bearing notes from the Patna office of the RBI landed in Ranchi around 8 this evening to tide over the currency crisis across all banks and ATMs in Jharkhand today, bottlenecks in transporting cash consignments by road being the main culprit.

"The money which came tonight will first be used in Ranchi and a few other important places. The rest will be distributed further. Money will come again tomorrow through helicopters to service districts," said finance secretary Amit Khare.

There was a severe shortage of cash throughout the state today, for which only a handful of ATMs were able to dispense with money, that too only for an hour so. For most part of the day, residents were left scrambling from bank to bank in search of an ATM with cash.

"I totally understand the inconvenience faced by people today," Khare said, admitting people even in big cities of the state bore the brunt of ATMs being out of cash or running dry in an hour. But with money coming in choppers, Khare said he was optimistic that cash supply would be streamlined from tomorrow.

Ranchi has an RBI centre at Kutchery, but it doesn't directly deal in cash distribution.

So far, cash was being sent to 95 chests across 24 districts of Jharkhand in heavily guarded convoys on road, taking 24 hours and more to reach the designated places in Jharkhand. Supply of cash from RBI to Jharkhand had been smooth, but the logistics of distribution by road was the real problem.

"To counter this, the state government deployed two helicopters to fly in money from Patna to Ranchi," Khare said.

Asked which district was the most affected today, Khare said Bokaro.

Serpentine queues of citizens grew bigger across Jharkhand today, the first day ATMs opened after the fiscal reform. ATMs, supposed to dispense Rs 50 and Rs 100 notes, were a disappointment. Either machines had no cash or were not recalibrated to dispense Rs 50, Rs 100 and Rs 2,000. Confusion reigned about the new high-security Rs 500 notes.

"Under RBI guidelines, currency of Rs 50 and Rs 100 will be dispensed in ATMs. In Jharkhand, we are currently supplying Rs 100 notes through ATMs. All notes are clean. RBI has pumped new notes of Rs 2,000. I am not aware when new currency notes of Rs 500 will be released in the market. As far as cash running dry at banks and ATMs is concerned, one needs to understand this is an unprecedented situation across the country," said an RBI official.

This morning, Union home minister Rajnath Singh called up chief minister Raghubar Das to take stock of the cash situation and asked the government to stay alert and avert illegal transactions.


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