Traffic came to a halt on Wednesday at a toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway as commuters argued with attendants over Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes after the government pulled out these denominations in a bid to stamp out corruption.
Most of the commuters handed the scrapped notes at Kherki Daula toll plaza and Sirhaul MCD toll point on National Highway 8 in a bid to get them changed into Rs 100 and Rs 50 denomination. As the concessionaire ran out of paper money, commuters were handed back coins of Rs 10. The toll fee is Rs 60.
“I was not able to get the change of Rs 500 from anywhere so paid toll with the note. Now, I have got 44 coins of Rs 10. It is hilarious but will have to manage,” Rakesh Kumar said with the coins in his hand.
“What can we do? The government’s decision has been in haste and we will have to face it,” Satbir said.
At Kherki Daula toll, police had to intervene and open barriers to ease the kilometre-long traffic jam.
“I was stuck in jam for more than 25 minutes. Vehicles could move only after the police reached the spot and opened barriers,” BS Joon, a government employee, said.
He said traffic was stuck on both sides of the toll as people were arguing with attendants.
Toll attendants expressed their helplessness in paying back lower denomination currency notes because of the shortage.
“Everyone is handing over Rs 500 notes. It did not happen earlier. We are short of loose money so cannot help,” an attendant at Kherki Daula toll said.
Traffic flow was also interrupted at Sirhaul where Municipal Corporation of Delhi personnel collect toll from commercial vehicles. A number of vehicles were parked in the middle of the road as the toll attendants and vehicle owners argued over the currency notes.
Late on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a sudden withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from circulation from midnight. In a surprise televised address to the nation, Modi said the notes in circulation can be exchanged at banks till December 30.
Some concessions will be allowed for use of these notes at hospitals and crematoriums, and to buy air, rail and bus tickets until November 11. There will be some restriction on withdrawal of cash from banks and ATMs.