Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | By: CHIMI DORJI

Rupee crunch: Felt longtime back

From google images
Rupee crunch, it came suddenly like a wrathful storm which has already affected and still affecting our country. Unless effective rescue measures are in place it will keep on screwing our economy. It has also generated enough limelight from all across the country except from village folks. The village folks being illiterates may not be knowing this crisis and what is going on around the country these days, but they must have felt already the effect of its pinch as, may not be rice, but for all other necessities they depend on all imported products from India .In some places like Trashigang has already started hiking the vegetable prices(Kuensel). Very soon we may hear the same news for other imported products from India also.
For I have little knowledge on Economics and Banking I really don’t know what could have prompted such a dreadful crunch. Might have happened before such crunch, short of foreign currencies in Bhutan, but I did not remember whether I heard such crunch in Bhutan. This time I’m hearing for the first time ever. May be because of too much import and less export or other contributory factors for such crisis. Whom to point the finger? I really don’t know but one thing I knew it long time back. Might not have felt at large in the country until recently but I thought Bhutan has started feeling the crunch long time back. If not, at least I felt the crunch long time back. Could have been my ignorance failing to locate the proper source for exchanging Ngultrums for rupees but with all afford and possible ways still I felt the crunch as early as five years ago, ever since I started travelling to India for studying.
“Go to Banks for exchanging Ngultrums for Rupees”, many said whenever I reach to Phuntsholing for coming to India. But the reality was different .On reaching the exchange counter in the Bank; cashier would say “Rupee stock is over come in the morning”. Go to morning same reply most of the time, no rupees. I still remember sometimes I used to go to Banks again and again only to get the same reply, no rupees. Some said rupees would be available in the BOD (Bhutan Oil Distributer) most of time. Unlike in the Bank, they would say “come in the evening”. Even from BOD most of the time same reply like Banks, no rupees. But few times I got few hundred at the most one to two thousands only. I must have gone on the wrong days or I was rather unlucky or the seed of crunch was already started to swell by then but just able to ripe its fruits fully recently only. Whatever may be the reason, for sure I felt the crunch. In last five years, whenever I leave for India though I tried first option to exchange from Banks in Phuntsholing but I did not get even once also. So I had to resort to last option, buy rupees of same value paying extra. Sometimes for every hundred rupees I had to pay Nu. 10 sometimes Nu. 15.
Though I paid extra even for exchanging the currencies of same value, but considering  the current situation that many Bhutanese folks are living with, looking back  I don’t remorse rather I feel i was  lucky at least i had alternatives to exchange. If ever students face same fate like me, today go to Jaigon, forget about paying extra they won’t allow exchange also. Even if  they allow also,  they would charge almost 30 % of the total exchange amount as this has been reported already in the Kuensel( Nu.30,000 extra for exchanging Nu.100,000)
RMA’s rescue measures are already in force, hope the situation gets back to normal soon  or  remain as DPT government's  farewell for the country .Lets wait and watch........

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