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Fake coins flood markets
Akash Ghai/Jatinder Sabharwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
After fake currency notes, it is fake coins that are flooding the markets. Fake coins of Re 1 and Rs 5 denominations are believed to be in circulation in large numbers.

The coins can be easily spotted with a little alertness because of their poor finish. They also bend with just a little pressure.

The reason for the sudden rise in the number of fake coins, sources state, is that genuine coins have been hoarded by unscrupulous elements for extracting semi-precious metals. According to RBI sources, the intrinsic value of each Re 1 coin is over Rs 1.50 because of the nickel content in it.

This has led to a shortage of coins, thereby giving an impetus to the manufacturing of fake coins. A fake coin of Re 1 costs just about 25 paise to make, while a fake Rs 5 denomination coin costs about 35 paise, a metal expert estimated.

Such coins are made from lead, which melts easily and is convenient for die-casting. These lead coins are coated with nickel-chrome.

According to the metal expert, the life of the fake coin is about eight months after which the thin nickel-chrome plating starts wearing off.

Local shopkeepers revealed that it had become difficult to get coins for returning change to customers. Many a time they have to make do with candies, which is not appreciated by one and all.

Till last year there was a surplus stock of coins as these were not being circulated. In 2006, the Chandigarh office of the Reserve Bank of India had to lift five truckloads of coins from this region as there were no takers for the coins. This year the trend is just the opposite, with coins not being available, an RBI officer revealed.

Showing deep concern over the circulation of fake coins, a senior RBI officer said, “Minting of fake coins is a serious breach of law, which directly hits the country’s economy. Now we will ascertain whether it is happening here or somewhere else also and get to the bottom of the issue”.

Terming it to be a very serious development, Chandigarh SSP Dinesh Bhatt said, “We have not received any such complaint so far but definitely the police will be more alert in curbing such activities”.

The fake lead coin is very harmful to health as it causes respiratory problems and can lead to cancer also. Once lead enters the human body, there is no known method to flush it out.

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