Patients are facing problems in getting treatment and buying medicines as some chemists and private hospitals in Noida and Greater Noida are accepting only new notes. Residents said that many are not accepting payment through credit/debit cards either, making matters worse.
As per the government directive, scrapped notes are to be accepted by chemists, against a doctor’s prescription and an ID proof till December 15. After the demonetisation, some chemists in Noida preferred to sell medicines against plastic money to save themselves the inconvenience of standing in bank queues to deposit scrapped notes.
Residents said that authorities should take strict action against doctors, private hospitals and chemists who are not accepting payment through cards or online transactions.
“Many chemists in Noida are not accepting card payments to avoid taxes. There is no cash in any ATM either. How should we pay for medicines and other valuable items?” Udayvir Singh of Sector 85 said.
There are over 1,500 small and big chemists in the district.
Residents alleged that many chemists also claim that the medicine is out of stock to avoid payments through scrapped notes.
Deepak Sharma, drug inspector, Gautam Budh Nagar, said, “Retailers are directed to give medicines on payments through scrapped notes, provided the person furnishes an ID and doctor’s prescription. The Reserve Bank of India will take strict action against those flouting norms. As for denying medicine despite having it in stock, we will take action if such a case is brought to our notice.”
Gautam Budh Nagar district chemists’ association, however, said that cashless transactions have increased manifold since the demonetisation move. Chemists said they are also suffering a huge loss in business.
“Our sales have dipped by 40% since the demonetisation because people do not have enough cash to buy medicines. We are also accepting cards and online transfer of money for selling medicines. However, people are buying only those medicines that they cannot do without. Even patients with chronic diseases have stopped buying medicines in bulk,” said Anup Khanna, president of Gautam Budh Nagar chemists association.
However, there was no directive for private hospitals to accept scrapped currency notes. Private hospitals are asking patients to pay with plastic money or with notes other than the scrapped ₹500 and ₹1,000 ones.
Vijay Kumar of NRI City in Greater Noida said, “My three-year-old son was unwell and needed vaccination. When I went to a private hospital they asked me if I had new currency notes to pay the bill. I said I will pay through debit card or make an online payment, but they refused.”
Kumar and his family recently shifted to Greater Noida from Mumbai. Kumar works with an MNC in Kasna industrial area. “I had to approach a doctor in Indirapuram who was accepting payments through cards,” he said.