Long queues were seen at various petrol pumps in the city on Friday ahead of the midnight deadline for fuel stations to accept the scrapped Rs500 notes. As petrol pumps will not be allowed to accept the old notes from Saturday, customers sought to get their fuel tanks filled to capacity in a bid to use Rs500 notes.
“The decision (to end acceptance of Rs500 notes) has come too early even though the government had announced that these notes would be accepted till December 15. It is to be seen what will happen from Saturday when customers hand over Rs2,000 notes to pay for fuel. The new Rs500 notes are not much in circulation in the city yet,” said Satpal Singh of Vijay Nagar.
Most petrol pumps saw nearly 80% of the customers using Rs500 notes to purchase fuel on Friday. However, petrol pump owners said that as a huge number of Rs100 notes were already in circulation, customers would start using them now.
“We are expecting more Rs100 notes to come into circulation from Saturday. The problem of getting change for the new Rs2,000 note may crop up. At present, nearly 10% of our customers are using cards to pay for fuel. Earlier, the share was around 3%-5%,” said Gunjan Gupta, at a fuel station at GT Road.
Other dealers have started accepting payment through digital wallet systems and have also trained their staff accordingly.
“Our 15 employees are now trained as we installed the online wallet system. The number of customers paying through debit cards has gone up from 5% to 10% since November 8. However, people still use cash to buy fuel. There is also the problem of getting money from banks as their employees say they don’t have enough cash to dispense,” said KK Garg of Shiva Automobiles.
Members of petrol dealers’ associations said they will hand over a memorandum to district officials soon to apprise them of the issue of getting change for higher denominations and not getting enough notes of Rs100 and lower denominations from banks.
“There will be an issue from Saturday when old Rs500 notes will no longer be accepted. Petrol pumps will face difficulties arranging change if customers arrive with new Rs2,000 notes and buy fuel only for Rs400-Rs500. The issue will be brought to the knowledge of officials to be communicated to banks,” said Jaivir Singh, president, Ghaziabad and Hapur Petroleum Dealers’ Association.
He added that of the nearly 100 petrol pumps under them, hardly 10% have been able to dispense the Rs2,000 cash to customers through point of sale machines, as per an earlier government order.