note demonetisation

Transport stumbles, villagers confused: Nagaland struggles with demonetisation

Residents of rural areas who have no bank accounts or vehicles to travel to banks are the worst affected.

“Aya!” This exclamation of haplessness is a common refrain in Nagaland. But it has been heard a little more frequently in the past few days as people struggle to cope with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s startling announcement on Tuesday night that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would no longer be legal tender.

From employees to daily-wage earners, youngsters to homemakers, and at roadside eateries to restaurants, neighbourhood kiranas to wholesale shops, the impact has been felt everywhere.

On Wednesday, as people started lining up at banks to deposit and change old notes and get back new ones, an elderly woman reached a State Bank of India counter in Dimapur to exchange a single Rs 500 note. Outside, a restless crowd waited. Only a handful of ATMs in the state’s financial capital were working that day, and those too ran out of cash in no time.

On the weekend, the chaos was even more evident. Most people chose to exchange Rs 4,000 worth of old notes to meet their expenses, at least for a few days. This daily limit has since been raised to Rs 4,500.

At the State Bank of India branch, the queue on Saturday was even longer than on previous days. “I have been standing here for five hours and it will take me another half an hour once I enter the gate,” said a customer, pointing to a barricade set up by security personnel to manage the crowd.

The Morung Express reported that banking officials had held an assessment meeting with the state chief secretary and finance department in Kohima on Friday and a letter had been sent to the Reserve Bank of India with a request for Rs 300 crores worth of low-denomination currency notes for the state. The daily also quoted a State Bank of India official as saying that 70% of ATMs had been configured to dispense the new notes.

However, the lone SBI ATM at the main branch in Dimapur was issuing only Rs 2,000 notes, adding to the frustration of people. Notes of Rs 100 and Rs 50 had run out across establishments by Thursday evening itself.

“It smells of Modi’s arrogance,” said one man outside a Corporation Bank ATM. But he was also relieved as he held up a bunch of crisp Rs 100 notes.

Short on change

The depleting stock of low-denomination notes has lead to a massive shortage of change, prompting shops and eateries to turn away customers. Even multinational food chains were accepting only smaller notes or payment by debit or credit cards.

At neighbourhood kirana shops, residents took supplies on credit on having their old notes rejected.

“I went around the market the whole day to buy a kilo of tomatoes but failed as all the vendors refused to take my old Rs 500,” said Nochet, a housewife, adding in jest that she would iron out the money and keep it as a souvenir.

The same trouble befell those who had new notes. Limasungit, of Mokokchung town in Mokokchung district, said, “I went to the market with the new Rs 2,000 note but the shopkeeper told me, ‘How will I give you the change?’”

Rural despair

The cash crunch has been especially hard on Nagaland’s rural residents. Most of them do not have bank accounts or vehicles to travel to the nearest banks. Adding to their troubles, transportation service providers are no longer accepting old notes.

There is also confusion among many regarding their old currency. Some villagers expressed apprehension about what would happen to their “valueless money”, even those who had bank accounts and had managed to deposit them.

The sudden withdrawal of high-denomination currency and shortage of smaller notes also made travel difficult. Those making their way to Mon, Mokokchung, Tuensang and Longleng districts via neighbouring Assam spoke of hardships on the way. They said some hotels were accepting the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but taking a Rs 100 commission. These reports could not be independently verified. Another Mokokchung resident, however, said many hotels serving travellers had shut for business as a result of the currency crisis.

Even Nagaland State Transport services were hit as tickets could not be issued in some places due to cash shortage.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.