Mumbai: At KEM, defunct notes worth Rs 15 lakh were exchanged on first day

Updated: Nov 16, 2016, 08:56 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty |

KEM has become the first hospital in Mumbai to start two counters at its premises for exchanging currencies, a facility that patients and staffers can avail. On the very first day, defunct notes worth Rs 15 lakh were exchanged

People queue up outside the counters to exchange defunct currency notes
People queue up outside the counters to exchange defunct currency notes

The KEM hospital has emerged as a saviour at a time when getting change for the defunct 500 and 1,000 rupee notes is a pain. It has become the first hospital in the city to start two counters at its premises for exchanging currencies, a facility that patients and staffers can avail. On the very first day, defunct notes worth Rs 15 lakh were exchanged.

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The counter set up by Punjab National Bank
The counter set up by Punjab National Bank

On Tuesday, over 100 people flocked to the counters opened by Indian Post Office and Punjab National Bank. As per the Central government rules, each person can exchange currency worth upto a maximum of Rs 4,500.

As reported by mid-day last Tuesday, the post office and bank had approached Dr Avinash Supe, director of major hospitals and dean of KEM hospital, for permission to start the counters at the premises. On Monday, he granted the permission following which the counters were set up.

Overwhelming response
“On Tuesday about 258 staff members and patients benefited from the facility. Around Rs 10 lakh was exchanged at the Indian Post Office counter. Over 151 patients exchanged nearly Rs 4-5 lakh worth of defunct currencies at the PNB counter,” said Dr Supe. “The response was really overwhelming. There was less rush at the pharmacy as well. If we get requests from national banks and post offices, we will start such counters at other hospitals as well,” he added.

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A 34-year-old patient Anita Mishtra, whose husband is admitted at the hospital, said, “I only have defunct currencies in my wallet as I didn’t get time to exchange them at the bank. My husband underwent a surgery after he fell from his bike. I was struggling to buy medicines from outside that aren’t available at the hospital. Today, finally I could exchange a 1,000 rupee note.”

Helpline numbers get good response
The state health department has started two helpline numbers 104 and 108, where patients can call up and register complaints against those private hospitals that do not accept cheques and cards. The numbers were activated on Sunday. Since then, the number of complaints received has gone up by three times. Till Monday afternoon, 22 calls were recorded, which rose to 67 by Tuesday.

“The helpline numbers are getting a good response. Of the 67 calls we have received, only one could not be resolved. After receiving a complaint, our officials get in touch with the0 hospital and convince them to accept the money in cheque. We have also decided to pay hospitals R10,000 as against the patients whose cheques bounce,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director of Health Service.

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