In a bid to mitigate the payday chaos, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allegedly pumped in old soiled currencies of small denominations that were once withdrawn as part of its 'clean note policy.  But now, these notes are posing a health hazard for the bank employees and the public as well, thanks to dust and pesticide residues in the notes. 

 

The RBI had once collected all the dirty notes through banks as they were too old to be used. The notes were then kept safe from disintegration by sprinkling pesticides. Now these old bills are back in currency to meet the needs after demonetization. 

 

The bank employees, especially those who sit at the cash chest, are at the receiving end now. Many of these employees have fallen ill, thanks to dust, fungal and pesticide infection caused by dirty notes. Though the banks have directed employees to use masks while handling charred notes, the precaution is doing only partial good. Respiratory problems, asthma, sleeplessness and rashes on hands are increasingly reported among bank employees in the state.  

 

Things get worse when the employees count the notes manually. "The charred notes often get stuck in the counting machine. Besides, during rush hours, there used to be want of counting machines," a bank employee said. 

 

The RBI recalled soiled notes in 2001 and all these notes had been stored since then, according to a bank official.  Stacked in the stores of RBI after spraying pesticides to protect them from disintegration, these small denomination currencies are now back in circulation. The demonetization has in effect, rendered the clean note policy worthless.