Gurgaon residents rushed to fuel stations, ATM booths, retail shops, and even roadside eateries to exhaust their currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 and to get Rs 100 or Rs 50 notes in exchange after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday evening that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would cease to be legal tender from midnight.
A majority of the people queuing up at fuel stations were seen shelling out currency notes of Rs 500 while getting their vehicles’ fuel tanks filled to capacity. Operators at fuel stations were seen telling customers to pay the exact amount for fuel as they had run out of notes of smaller denominations to return as change.
“We ran out of Rs100 and Rs50 notes by 9pm. Now, most customers are paying with Rs500 notes. The problem is with those who are asking for fuel for less than Rs500 or Rs1,000 as we have no change,” said Dalbir Yadav, an attendant at a fuel station at Sector 31.
Long queues were also seen outside almost all ATMs in the city as people tried to get hold of Rs 100 notes. “I have Rs 3,000 but all the notes are of Rs 500 denomination. I tried to exchange with some shopkeepers, but to no avail. Now, I am hoping to get at least five notes of Rs 100 from the ATM,” said Sharad Agarwal while waiting outside a Punjab National Bank ATM booth in Sector 15.
The problem was more severe with fruit and vegetable vendors as they flatly refused to accept Rs 500 notes. They said the notes have been stopped and they would not accept them. Many of them did not budge even when told that the notes could be exchanged at banks.
“I do not want to get take a risk. It (accepting Rs 500 note) may cause me a loss as the government has stopped its use,” said Fakir Ahmad, a vegetable vendor at Jharsa Chowk.