It has been a week since the demonetisation of Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes was announced and Gurgaon residents have been using various means, including barter, to avail daily goods and services, some of which are beyond the purview of digital transactions.
While some are recharging vendors’ mobile phones, others are refuelling their vehicles together to reach an amount for which fuel stations would not have to return change.
One such resident, Nitin Tripathi of Sector 40, has made a pact with two of his neighbours since the demonetisation came into effect. They shop for groceries together in Khandsa mandi, where some fruit and vegetable vendors still accept the Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes.
“We usually buy around nine kgs of vegetables and four kgs of fruits in each visit. There are two vendors familiar with us who still accept the old notes. Together, the sum comes close to Rs1,000. After returning home, we distribute the groceries amongst us,” Tripathi said.
Another resident, Shipra Jena, had to go from Sector 47 to the airport in Delhi to catch a flight. While taxi drivers refused to accept old notes, she was able to convince one driver to take her to the airport in return for pay for the fuel for the trip.
“I was not carrying cash and could only pay through debit card. The driver suggested that I get his cab refuelled for the same amount as the fare for the journey from any gas station that accepts cards. I was then able to reach the airport safety,” Jena said.
Similarly, Khushboo Batra Diwan, of Sector 40, said she did not have any cash on her when her four year old son insisted on taking an amusement ride in a mall. “In the absence of the exact amount in notes, I reached a deal with the caretaker. My son used his service for 15 minutes and I recharged his mobile through a digital wallet service for the corresponding amount,” Diwan said.
Fuel stations of state-controlled petrol and natural gas providers are still accepting demonetised currency notes. However, at CNG pumps consumers are usually able to fill up their vehicles’ tanks for Rs 250 to Rs 400, in which case getting change is a problem.
To find a way around this, acquaintances are visiting the fuel stations together.
“My friend and I have visited the nearby CNG pump thrice since the demonetisation came into effect. In every visit, we switch filling our cars with CNG worth Rs300 and Rs200. This way, we have so far used up three Rs500,” said Ankit Saran of Sector 43.