The government’s decision to extend the use of old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes to pay household utility bills, taxes and fees, buy fuel and make purchases from co-operative stores by another 72 hours to Monday has come as huge relief to the lakhs of people making rounds of banks to exchange or deposit old currency.
Till Friday evening, people were either trying to deposit or exchange old notes or were trying to use them wherever they could as the earlier deadline was to expire on Friday midnight.
Vaishnavi Dhar, 32, a resident of Jangpura, made four attempts on Friday to get petrol but had to return seeing the long queues. “Now, I don’t even have so much petrol left in my tank that I can go till the pump,” she said.
Like Vaishnavi, people made a beeline at petrol pumps, metro stations, milk booths and other public utilities authorised by the government to accept old currency.
The extension means government hospitals, ticketing counters at railway, public transport, milk booths, crematoriums/burial grounds, petrol pumps and gas stations will accept the old notes for three more days.
“DMRC will also follow the government guidelines and extended the deadline till the midnight of 14th November for acceptance of old high denomination currency notes,” said metro spokesperson.
DMRC registered more than 100% increase in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 transactions and 60 % decrease in R 200 transactions on Friday, said an official.
A petrol pump manager in Saket said sales had gone up by more than five times. “Since 8.30pm, our pump began receiving car drivers who were paying us notes in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations.”
Seeing the heavy rush, a Mother Dairy outlet in Dwarka was issuing handwritten receipts signed by the owner, assuring payment of the balance amount later.
Reshma Khan, 16, a student said, “What will I do with vegetables worth Rs 500. It will get stale so I requested my neighbours to come along so that we can buy vegetables.”
But the municipal corporations’ announcement on Friday to pay property tax and conversion charges with R 500 and R1,000 notes received lukewarm response from the public.
“People received information through SMS late evening. Ideally, the agencies should have shared the information a day in advance,” said a resident on the condition of anonymity.
A senior SDMC official said, “Even we were intimated about the development on Thursday night so we couldn’t do much on this issue,” he said