Did You Know? What happened to 750 Tonnes of our Rs 500 and Rs 1000 Old Notes

While recalling the hardships people in India went through months after the announcement of demonetisation in November last year, one should know that the demonetised notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will now play in crucial role in the South African general election in 2019.

Thanks to a deal struck between RBI and Western India Plywood, a Kerala based company, now the demonetised notes will first turn into wood pulp and later into hardboards to be shipped to South Africa where general elections are scheduled in 2019.

The exported hardboards are being used as placards and hoardings in the election campaign.
“Shortly after demonetisation was announced, the Reserve Bank based in Thiruvananthapuram approached us. They didn’t how to dispose of the notes. If burnt, it would cause massive environmental damage since the notes are made of special currency paper. We asked them to send us samples. Then our Research & Development wing found a method by which we can use the notes,” TM Bava, general manager of WIP, told the Indian Express over the phone.

“We received the shredded notes in the form of briquettes from the RBI which we cooked at a high temperature. This pulp is put into a defibrator (a refiner which grounds pulp material using steam). And then we mix this pulp with wood pulp which is then used as hardboards,” he said. “There is a lot of export to bulk buyers in South Africa where it is used as placards in the election campaign,” said Bava, along with regular exports to countries in Africa and the Middle-East.
WIP, a company that claims to be the only in India with technology to recycle the invalid notes, received a colossal 750 tons approx of notes collected in 50 trailers.

This would leave many surprised but the company bought a ton of notes at Rs 128 from RBI.  “They tell customers that it is made from notes (laughs). They are selling it as a premium product,”  laughs Bawa.
“But we are selling it at the same price. We have principles and business ethics. In fact, through research, we have turned this into a value-added product, which otherwise would have caused a lot of environmental damage,” he said.
Bava, however, says that the company is forced to pay for the transportation, packing and loading for each trip made from RBI centre in Thiruvananthapuram to the company headquarters in Valapattanam, Kannur.

“We are getting offers from other states also,” he said.

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