Even a month after demonetization was announced, scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes are being widely circulated throughout Nagaland. The insufficient provision of new Rs 500 notes and hike in businesses during the festive season of Hornbill and pre-Christmas are the main reasons for the acceptance of old notes.
‘Few ATMs in Kohima town and its vicinity are disbursing the new Rs 500 notes. The old notes are accepted and returned as change precisely due to shortage of new notes. As more new notes come, use of old notes will go down,’ hoped Naomi Ao, owner of a restaurant in central Kohima.
According to government estimates, Nagaland has been visited by over 80,000 tourists in the last one week. The acceptance of old notes has given the tourists a window to ‘dump’ their old notes which are not being accepted elsewhere.
Old notes still doing the trick
This was rampant even though the SBI ATM in Kisama heritage village, where Hornbill Festival is being held was one of the few ATMs where special provision of Rs 500 notes were made keeping in mind the tourist inflow.
‘A special provision of filling the ATM with new Rs 500 notes was done in Kisama heritage village keeping in mind businesses generated due to tourist inflows during Hornbill festival,’ a bank official at the bank kiosk in Kisama said.
However, traders in Kohima and vicinity say they accept the old notes only when the amount of purchase is close to the amount of old note offered. ‘If a person buys close to Rs 800 or Rs 900 and offers Rs 1,000 notes, how can I ask him or her to give me in Rs 100 notes when we know new Rs 500 notes are also scarce. So, we accept it. However, if the purchase is Rs 100 or Rs 200 and he or she offers Rs 500 or Rs 1,000, we don’t accept it,’ said Veronica Ao, a trader in Old NST area of Kohima, where night-bazaar is held every night for the ten days of Hornbill festival.