People in rural and remote areas of Odisha have been hard hit due to the sudden demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as banking services are yet to reach many remote areas of the State.
Only 2,700 bank branches are operating in the total 51,313 villages across the State.
Following the Union Government’s masterstroke against black money and corruption, the people of remote villages, especially the tribals-dominated villages, have to travel to the bank branches as far as 15 to 20 km away to exchange or deposit Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
According to official data, a total of 4,889 bank branches are operating across the State by the end of March this year. Out of these bank branches, 3,041 are of nationalised banks; 514 are of private banks, 991 are of Rural Banks and 343 branches are of Cooperative Banks.
A total of 6,028 ATMs are operating in different locations, out of which the number is 1,784 in rural areas. However, there are no bank branches and ATMs being operated in tribals-dominated regions.
There is no bank branch in around 4,000 panchayats in the State.
According to reports from various places, brokers have started exploiting people taking advantage of the crisis. In many places, the brokers are exchanging the notes at a premium, the reports said.