Chennai: RBI today cautioned people against falling prey to any agents for exchanging the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as anxious public thronged banks in large numbers to avail of the facility across Tamil Nadu.
"...there is no need for any panic and no need to pay anything extra or meet agents (for exchanging the notes)," RBI's Chennai Regional Director J Sadakkadulla told reporters here.
He was responding to questions about the long queues and complaints of inconvenience to the people in exchanging the high denomination notes that ceased to be legal tender from yesterday, in a move by the Centre to check black money and corruption.
"For all the banks in Tamil Nadu, around 270 currency chest of ours have sent money yesterday and it was deposited with them last evening itself. Hence there is no need for any panic and no need to pay anything extra or meet agents," he said adding anyone could exchange the cash by presenting ID proof.
He said distribution of the Rs 2000 notes had begun and was being undertaken by all banks in the state. "Starting today, till December 30, including coming Saturday and Sunday, cash distribution will be made and hence there is no need for any panic or rush," Sadakkadulla said.
The scene across the state was that of a mad rush as people flocked the banks which opened after a day's closure to prepare for the new currency distribution. Several public sector banks including country's largest public sector State Bank of India, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, City Union Bank had opened additional counters to clear the crowd and for fast processing, bank officials said.
"Today we are operating only to exchange the currencies and for deposits. I think it will take some time to stabilise", City Union Bank Chairman and Managing Director N Kamakodi told PTI.
Many branches asked the customers to wait outside the premises to cater to those already inside. Police personnel were posted in sufficient numbers in most of the branches as part of measures to manage the swelling crowd.
A few even alleged that they were asked to pay a token sum by some outsiders who had the forms required to be filled up for exchanging the old currency.