To counter the sudden cash crunch following the demonetization move by the Central Government, residents of Khawbung village in Mizoram, located along the India-Myanmar border, have hit upon a novel way of countering the crisis. PC Lalhmachhuana, owner of a hardware store in this eastern Mizoram village, has convinced his fellow villagers that they should use pieces of paper as promissory notes to replace currency till the situation eases and new notes come into circulation.
‘We have to find a solution as the cash shortage has hit the people hard. It is almost impossible to buy or sell anything unless we make an alternate arrangement,’ he said.
Khawbung setting a trend
Following his suggestion, shopkeepers and vegetable-sellers have begun to accept pieces of paper as currency since Saturday. Customers, too, are happy to play along. The papers bear the amount and the signature of the issuer on them.
Mapuia, a local activist, said such a system of financial transaction is practical and possible only in a close-knit society like that of the Mizos and, that too, only in villages. ‘In Khawbung, we know each other very well. Mutual trust has built up over the years,’ Mapuia said, adding that everyone knew that that they would not be cheated of their hard-earned money.
The activist on Tuesday added that the practice would be discontinued as soon as notes of smaller denominations as well as the new Rs 2,000 notes arrived in the village.
Unusual financial transactions are not new to this tiny Northeastern state. It is quite common to find ‘Nghahloh Dawr’ or unmanned street-side shops in Mizoram where customers can buy vegetables according to rates displayed on a leaf or plank and deposit money in a bottle at the shop. Buyers can also pick up change from the box.