SRINAGAR: Two months after a massive flood damaged and contaminated millions of currency notes at its Srinagar chest, the Reserve Bank of India is making preparations for their safe disposal.
Fears are mounting that the notes worth about Rs 460 crore might have turned into slush.
Security personnel guarding the chest at Residency Road branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank complain of an unbearable stench emanating from the notes.
Contaminated currency notes pose a health hazard and cannot be processed under normal operating procedures. Currency notes damaged in fires and floods are shredded or burned by RBI’s Issue Offices.
An official at the RBI’s office in Jammu, requesting anonymity, said the damaged notes will be disposed of at the earliest once his office receives the green signal from the Chandigarh-based Issue Office that only is mandated to take a call on the disposal.
Syed Ehsan-ul-Haq, in-charge of cash management at the RBI chest, said the floodwater did not spare even the strongest chest facility.
“The notes stacked on the top have been saved, but the deluge hit the lower stacks and even coins in bags have been rusted in the process,” he said.
Luckily, the records, which were online, have survived, he added. However, several counting machines have been damaged by the floodwater.
Banknotes returned from circulation are deposited at the Issue Offices, which repay the owners after authenticating and checking the condition of the notes.
In the US, the Federal Bank provides special bags with moisture and oxygen barriers to dispose of large amounts of currency exposed to a number of unknown toxins in the event of a large-scale disaster.