KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Commoners, traders and businessmen in villages and towns bordering India remained tensed throughout the day on Wednesday following the Indian government decision to withdraw 1,000 and 500 Indian rupee bills from the financial system.
The decision perplexed many as Indian currency is widely in use in towns and villages in border areas. Indian currency is also widely used by Nepali traders and businessmen in border areas. People also keep Indian currency in stock for future use like treatment in Indian hospitals or pilgrimage to India.
Likewise, the decision will also affect family of migrant workers who bring Indian currency with them while returning home.
Existing law allows Nepali citizens to carry IRs 25,000 while travelling between Nepal and India. But they are not allowed to hold foreign currency for future use.
Traders in Birgunj remained very much worried throughout the day. They remained busy inquiring others on ways to exchange 1,000 and 500 Indian rupee bills that they hold.“
"People keep Indian currency at their home for future use. Similarly, traders are businesspeople use Indian currency of higher denomination on a daily basis. The decision of the Indian government has created a big probl”m," Om Prakash Sikariya, former president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told Republica.
Sikariya has also appealed to the Nepal Rastra Bank to address the problem by coordinating with Indian agencies.
Pradeep Kedia, president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industries, also said that traders often buy Indian currency from informal market when they do not needful exchange facility from the bank“. "We are yet to assess the damage that the decision will ma”e," added Kedia.
Bijay Shah, an agent at the Birgunj Customs Office, said that this is likely to affect trading as few importers could not pay to Indian transporters on Wednesday.
Migrant workers of Baitadi heading to different places of India were in a difficult situation on Wednesday as the Indian rupee bills that they were carrying became worthless overnigh“. "I am carrying only IRs 5,000 and all the bills are of higher denomination," Keshav Bista, a resident of Baidati, said.
People of Baitadi and Dadeldhura, which share border with India, were also affected by the decision as they use Indian currency to purchase daily essentials form the nearby Indian markets. Many people of these districts work in different Indian cities and return home with Indian rupee bills.
It is assumed that many households in these districts have large volume of Indian rupee bills of higher denomination as many workers plying trade in India returned for the Dashain and Tihar celebrations couple of months ago.
The decision left many people in Mahottari district in a state of confusion. People were seen discussing the issue at the market centers.