GUWAHATI, Oct 4 � Though an unending coins shortage is gripping this part of the country, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) told noted educationist Prof Ranjit Nath Bhattacharjee in reply to an RTI application that it had last year disbursed 10 crore pieces of coins to various bank branches of Assam for disbursement to the public.
Besides, the RBI disbursed Rs 30.47 lakh last year in Guwahati alone through its own Coin Vending Machine (CVM), said the apex bank of the country in its reply to the RTI application.
The RBI further stated in its reply that there are 19 CVMs operating at various bank branches in Guwahati. It also provides incentive to banks for installing more CVMs. Moreover, in order to bring the facility relating to availability of coins according to the Monetary Policy Statement of the RBI of 2012-13 (Para 130), it has decided to channelise disbursement of coins and notes through bank branches only.
Bhattacharjee said while talking to this newspaper that it has become obvious from the above reply of the RBI that the bank branches are receiving coins and notes of lower denomination for disbursement to the public, but in reality the common people of the State are not coming across such facility being offered by any bank. Mysteriously, the coins supplied by the RBI are not made available to the public.
Besides, Bhattacharjee said he has not come across any CVM, except the one in the Dispur branch of the SBI (as has been learnt from some people), against the information of 19 CVMs installed by the banks in their city branches. The one that was installed at the Panbazar branch of the SBI is found to be out of order for more than one year now.
Therefore, Bhattacharjee said it is the responsibility of the RBI to investigate as to how the bank branches are disbursing the coins and also why they are not following the guideline and the incentive provided to them by the RBI, and are not following the �Master Circular � Facility for Exchange of Notes and Coins� dated July 1 last, particularly with respect to disbursement of coins and exchange of soiled notes etc.
There are ample reasons for the people to suspect that the coins are often sold at black markets, making them face the resultant harassments. As to how such shady deals in coins are operated, needs to be investigated. The RBI should initiate a thorough investigation into the entire issue of perennial coins shortage, said Prof Bhattacharjee.