9th November 2016
To All Members,
Sub: Problems being faced by the tour operators/foreign tourists - Cancelling of the legal tender character of the high denomination bank notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000
We are aware about the problem being faced by the members for their foreign groups who are already in India and stranded at the monuments due to withdrawal of bank notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. We have received numerous telephone calls from our members in this regard.
Please note that the matter has already been taken up with the Hon’ble Minister and a copy of the letter which has been sent to Hon’ble Minister and other senior officials is placed below for your ready reference.
I have also spoken to Mr. Navneet Soni, OSD to Minister for Culture and Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary (Tourism) and apprised them of the problems and the present situation. The matter is being looked into favourably by the Hon’ble Minister.
Till the time, the problem is resolved, members whose foreign groups are already in India, are advised to purchase ASI monuments tickets online on the following link of Archaeological Survey of India site website.
The above link is on Archaeological Survey of India official website http://www.asi.nic.in (online entry ticket).
Shall update you if there is any development in the matter.
9th November 2016
Dr. Mahesh Sharma
Hon’ble Minister of State for Tourism and Culture
Ministry of Tourism
Government of India
Hon’ble Minister Sir,
Subject: Problems being faced by the foreign tourists - Cancelling of the legal tender character of the high denomination bank notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000
Greetings from IATO!
1. We welcome the bold step taken by the Government to eliminate black money and to control the fake currency by cancelling the high denomination bank notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 and on behalf of the tourism industry, we fully support the government.
However, I would like to bring to your notice that due to sufficient notice not being given, many of our foreign clients, (some in large groups), who are already in India are stranded at various ASI monuments to pay their entry fee. They are accompanied by the Indian escorts/guides to pay their entry fee and are carrying currency of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000. Lots of telephone calls are being received in this regard from the members since morning 7 AM today.
All the ATMs are closed and our representatives/clients are not able to withdraw the small denomination currency.
I am writing this to request you to kindly request ASI (being Government agency) to accept Indian currency of bank note of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 till the time new currency is available and ATMs become operational on 12th November 2016.
Presently there is no facility of making payment by debit/credit card at any of the ASI monuments. It is requested that debit/credit card machines be installed at all the ASI monuments and payment should be accepted by all the cards i.e. Visa/Master/Amex/Rupay etc. This is urgently required as government is encouraging electronic payments instead of payment by cash.
Also as per the Press Release issued by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs (copy enclosed), there will not be any limit on the quantity or value of Old High Denomination Bank notes to be credited to the account of the tenderer. Therefore, ASI being government agency should accept bank note of Rs. 500 and 1000 till 11th November 2016 and by then, credit/debit card machines can be installed.
The money which is being carried by our escorts/guides/representatives is fully accountable and out of the foreign exchange remitted for their tour expenses in India.
Would be grateful for an early action in the matter.
Thanking you and with best regards,