Note Ban: Assam Village Seeks Redemption In ‘Ngultrum’


Guwahati: Archana Tamang, a 35-year-old owner of a photo studio at Hatisor village in western Assam often complained about the remoteness of her village on the Bhutan border.

Now, it’s precisely this geography that’s come to her rescue.

To overcome the cash crunch, people in this border village are using Bhutanese currency whose value has jumped as much as 25 per cent to match Indian currency.

In the border area of Dadguri, Bhutanese currency is easily accepted as retailers and grocery shop owners get their stocks from Bhutan.

“There is problem but whatever is done is being done good. We are lucky that here Bhutanese Currency is accepted,” said Ms Tamang and added, “Here in our border area there is no bank, no ATM. We can’t withdraw cash. Till now we haven’t seen new currency.”

The first time anyone here has seen the new Rs. 2,000 note is the one we were carrying with us. The nearest bank branch is 50 kilometers away and road connectivity is a challenge.

A mobile van of the State Bank of India comes here thrice a week but for deposit collections.

The district administration says they have now asked SBI to dispense cash as well.

“Right now the people from that area come over to Kajolgoan or Daligoan to exchange the new notes for Rs. 500 and 1000. The Runikhata Branch that close to the village too has shifted four years back,” says Vinod Deka, Deputy Commissioner of Chiang district that administers the village.

State Bank of India’s mobile van is expected to give out cash next week. Until then, people in this border village are using Bhutanese currency to buy their daily needs.