People who had come to Bengaluru to exchange demonetised notes at the RBI’s regional office on January 2 had a rude shock when they were informed that the office was not authorised to exchange the currency.

 

More than 100 people from across the state had come to the RBI office on Nrupathunga Road in the hope of exchanging currency. They were kept waiting for two hours before being informed that the office could not exchange their currency. The Hindu reported that the depositors got agitated and staged a protest, prompting bank officials to call in police.

 

On December 31, the RBI issued a notification extending currency exchange facilities for NRIs and Indians who were outside the country from November 8 to December 31. The exchange facility will be restricted to RBI offices at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Nagpur. The RBI hasn’t specified if ordinary resident Indians can avail of the exchange facilities.

 

The Deccan Herald reported that the RBI office in Bengaluru is awaiting instructions from its head office. Bankers in the city have slammed the situation and said that currency exchange facility should be extended to Bengaluru given the number of businesses and NRIs in the city.

 

The confusion adds to the RBI’s woeful record in handling demonetisation-related chaos, which Asianet Newsable chronicled recently. Protests were reported at RBI offices in Mumbai and Kolkata on January 2 even though the offices in the two cities are authorised to carry out currency exchanges. The Times of India reported that the RBI has restricted the currency exchange facilities to plug holes in efforts to curb money laundering.