Bhubaneswar, Nov 8: A year after demonetisation, scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes continue to find their way into donation boxes at some temples in Odisha. Unable to dump their old currency notes, devotees are dropping the demonetised notes in donation boxes at Jagannath Temple in Puri and Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar. The deadline for exchange of demonetised notes expired on December 30 last year.
Now, the temple trustees are worried about how to encash the devalued denominations.
"We have received about Rs 18 lakh in demonetised notes as offerings," said Pradeep Kumar Das, administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA).
"We had urged the Reserve Bank of India to request the Finance Ministry for exchange of the banned notes. However, the RBI expressed its inability saying that the rule is applicable for all."
He said the Managing Committee would decide on the fate of the banned notes.
Of the Rs 3-4 lakh that the temple receives in donations on an average every day, about Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 is in old notes.
"We have kept the old denomination notes in our temple chest after the RBI refused to take up the matter with the Union government. We don't know what would be the fate of the notes. The Managing Committee may request the government or dispose of the notes in any other way," said Das.
He said they can't stop devotees from dropping old denomination notes in the temple 'hundi' (donation boxes).
"They are donating the old notes in the hundi. We also receive donations directly at our office and give receipts to the donors. Since the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are no longer valid, we are not accepting these notes at the office," he added.
Interestingly, the Supreme Court had in July this year asked the Centre to offer one last chance to persons still stuck with old notes because of genuine reasons. The Centre, however, had declined to open another window for exchange of the demonetised notes.
The government has notified a law that makes the holding of more than 10 scrapped notes punishable with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000.