Fresh currency notes have become a hot commodity before the Eid.
Though the sale of currency notes is illegal, buyers and sellers were busy bargaining over fresh notes in the New Market and Kotwali areas of Chittagong city.
A bundle, containing 100 notes, of Tk 10 was being sold at Tk 1,120; a bundle of Tk 20 was being sold at 2,150; a bundle of Tk 50 at Tk 5,300 and a bundle of Tk 100 at Tk 10,500.
During a visit yesterday, it was found that people queued up to buy the notes, while 15 to 20 persons were found displaying notes of different denominations.
Shahidul Islam, who came to buy fresh notes in New Market area, said children become excited if they receive fresh notes as Eid selami.
An elderly man named Mufizul Islam said, “The fresh notes double the joy for kids. To avoid the hassle of standing in a queue in banks as well as saving time, I have collected new notes from the sellers giving extra money.”
Jamir Hossain, who sells notes in front of New Market, said those who fail to get fresh notes from banks collect those from them after paying some extra bucks.
“There is a huge demand for two and five taka notes. But Bangladesh Bank has not circulated those notes yet this year,” he said.
Asked how they collect notes from the banks when general people do not get those, a note seller, on condition of anonymity, said they pay the bank officials for obtaining the notes.
He said they even have to pay the influential people to ensure that they can run the business without any trouble.
Terming the business of fresh currency notes black marketing, economist Prof Dr Moinul Islam said, “Every year, this illegal trade goes on in connivance with a section of government and private bank officials."
“Seizing the opportunity of public demand, they are creating a crisis of fresh notes in the banks and extorting extra money from the people,” he said, adding that Bangladesh Bank could stop this illegal act if they monitor distribution channels properly.
According to the sources at Bangladesh Bank's Chittagong office, this year the central bank has released fresh notes worth Tk 30,000 crore, and notes worth Tk 1,260 crore were sent to its Chittagong office.
From June 3 to June 10, fresh notes were given to 5,970 people after collecting their fingerprints, said an official adding that distribution of notes would be continued from 9:30am to 2:30pm till June 14.
Shahjahan Majumdar, joint manager (administration) of Bangladesh Bank, Chittagong office, said, “After a meeting with six private banks, we have provided them with fresh notes considering the number of their branches and clients.”
“We have been monitoring their activities so that people can receive fresh notes without any hassle,” he added.