As ATMs across the country go dry and frustrated citizens queue up at banks, employees in the four security presses are working day and night to meet the unprecedented demand for new currency notes. The presses at Nashik and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) are churning out around 2 million notes of ₹500 denomination every day!
There are 4 presses that print currency notes. The ones at Nashik and Dewas are run by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Ltd, which is owned by the Finance Department of the Government of India.
The two other presses in Mysore and Salboni (West Bengal), owned by Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Pvt Ltd are printing the new ₹2,000 denomination notes. A government-run security paper mill at Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh supplies the special currency paper to all the 4 presses.
Old Notes Were Being Bundled Till The Announcement!
Employees at the currency note press in Nashik tell The Quint that the printing of old design of ₹500 denomination was stopped around 2 months ago. But many sheets of printed notes were in the pipeline. The process of cutting, numbering, bundling of these notes was going on when the Prime Minister announced scrapping of these notes!
On condition of anonymity, an employee involved in the process has confirmed that he got to know about invalidation of the old design only after the television announcement and that there was no official communication till then.
The employees in the high security press at Nashik Road were only informed a week in advance about the new design of ₹500 notes. They were not informed that the old notes were being scrapped. The work on the new design had begun seven days before the public announcement on 8 November 2016.
Right now, at Nashik and Dewas, the denominations of ₹500 are being printed on priority as the RBI has demanded more of it. But that doesn’t mean that all the machines are being used to print the single design. The demand for ₹100 notes has also gone up and that design is the second priority.
300 Million Old Notes To Be Burnt?
300 million pieces of old design of ₹500 notes are lying inside the Nashik currency note press alone, reports suggest. All the misprinted, old or outdated notes are verified, documented, shredded and burnt. So, the truckloads of old currency notes are likely to turn into ashes soon!
The old currency notes, which all of us are depositing in various banks, are going to regional offices of Reserve Bank of India and they are likely to be disposed of there.
‘We Are Doing Our Best’
The employees at the printing presses are working in 2 shifts and each shift is 9 hours long. Yet it is likely to take around 2 months for the normalisation of the new currency notes, they predict. “We are aware of the rush at ATMs and we are working as much as we can to supply the required notes,” assure Jagdish Godse and Sunil Ahire, who are office bearers of the only union inside the Nashik press.
Retired employees compare this situation with 1971, when Bangladesh had got its freedom and its new currency notes were hurriedly printed in the Nashik press.