Chaos ensued at the Vaishali Metro station in Ghaziabad on Wednesday morning as commuters tried to recharge their smart cards with ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, which ceased to be legal from Tuesday night.
Officials at the counters were also unclear about accepting the notes. Many commuters were stranded as they did not have notes of acceptable denominations.
“I did not have any ₹100 note with me in the morning and my smart card had to be recharged. I was getting late for office and around 8am, I noticed a commotion at the cash counter. Later, when people told me about the situation, I decided to use PayTM to the recharge my card and continued my journey,” Akansha Malhotra, a commuter at the Vaishali Metro station, said.
However, by 12 noon, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) issued a statement that it will also accept ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, on the lines of railway stations and airports.
The maximum recharge for a metro smart card is of ₹1,000.
Outside the metro station as well, autorickshaw drivers lost customers to cab and auto aggregating giants such as Ola and Uber as people did not have cash to pay for the rides.
“I have a limited number of ₹100 notes. Hence, I decided to save them and use my debit and credit card wherever possible. I opted for a cab to reach the Dilshad Garden Metro station as I can pay them online as well,” said Priyank Pandey, a resident of Brij Vihar.
Meanwhile, as government licensed milk booths were also supposed to accept the notes of the banned denominations, various milk booths across the city saw people turning up with the notes hoping to get change in return. Milk booth owners said their sale was higher on Wednesday than on regular days.
Rajesh Tripathi, a milk booth owner at Sector 16, Vasundhara, said, “We have not been provided with any change by the government and, hence, I could not return any change to the customers. As a result, almost all of them bought products for ₹500-₹1,000 from the booth and my sale increased.”
Petrol pumps are also accepting the high value notes. However, they are forcing consumers to buy fuel worth ₹500 or ₹1,000. Huge traffic jams were seen at various petrol pump stations in the city.
“More than 10 cars are queued up at a single booth at the petrol pump and the queues are extending till the main road leading to jams. I was stuck on CISF Link Road in Indirapuram for more than half an hour because of this,” said Satvik Negi, a commuter.
Jewellers in the city said people are now being forced to pay through debit and credit cards.
“We have a number of customers who are in a crisis as they had collected cash in high value notes to buy jewellery for the upcoming weddings in their families. Many expressed their displeasure to us and they are now paying for jewellery through debit and credit cards,” said Ashok Anand Verma, president of Jeweller’s Association in trans-Hindon Area.