Rameshwaram fishermen face counterfeit currency problem

September 1st, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Sep 1 (IANS) Fishermen in this port town of Tamil Nadu have complained that some buyers have been paying them in counterfeit currency even as police said investigations were under way. “Some buyers of the catches are paying counterfeit notes which are not discernible to our members. Worse, the cooperative banks here do not have equipment to detect them and return those notes a day or two later, creating problems for poor fishermen,” said S. Jeremiah, an office-bearer of a fishermen’s body, Monday.

Another representative of the fishermen’s association saw the problem differently.

“Certain people here have dealings with the (banned) terrorist organisation Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam due to the smuggling of essentials to Sri Lanka. One does not know whether the counterfeit notes are in circulation due to such operations,” said K. Senthil, the president of Tamil Nadu Fishermen’s Association.

“Fishermen are now reluctant to receive payments in cash of higher denomination notes due to suspicions of their being counterfeit. At this rate, our decent catches netted after spending a sizeable amount of money on scarce diesel will rot ashore, leaving our members destitute,” Senthil added.

Officials of a few nationalised banks in this temple town 600 km south of Tamil Nadu capital Chennai said on condition of anonymity that most of the counterfeit currency notes they came across were of Rs.500 denominations.

“Even though we return such notes to those who bring them for depositing in their accounts, they come back into circulation because smaller cooperative banks do not have the wherewithal to check their veracity,” an official said.

Investigations were underway to find out the real source of counterfeit notes but no cases have been registered so far, police said.

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