Customers rush to exchange ₹2000 notes; ‘no change’, say fuel pumps
There has been a sudden spike in cash transactions, at least six dealers in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra said, requesting anonymity.
New Delhi: Petrol pumps are facing the heat of the ₹2,000 banknote withdrawal as customers are thronging with the high-value currency notes from Friday late to buy fuel worth as little as ₹100 or ₹200, forcing many outlets to put up notices that they would not be able to give change for ₹2,000 due to unavailability of notes of smaller denominations.
There has been a sudden spike in cash transactions, at least six dealers in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra said, requesting anonymity. Several pumps in different regions of Uttar Pradesh have put up notices that ₹2,000 notes will be accepted only for purchase of petrol or diesel of ₹1,000 or more. HT reviewed a couple of such notices.
Delhi-based dealers are equally hard pressed. “Being in the capital, we cannot put up such notices. As ₹2,000 notes are legal tender, we cannot refuse them. But we are also short of smaller notes. We are consider requesting customers to take change through UPI, BHIM and Paytm,” one dealer said.
“Earlier, ₹2,000 notes used to be 1-2% of our total daily sales. Now this has jumped to 80%. We are not banks, and our cash-in-hand is limited, depending what we get in everyday sales. It is a practical issue that arose due to the RBI’s decision to withdraw the ₹2,000 currency. It seems that people are not adequately aware that they have ample of time to exchange them in banks,” a second pump owner said.
The ₹2,000 banknote has been withdrawn from circulation but will continue to be legal tender, the Reserve Bank of India said on May 19, advising people to exchange or deposit the notes by September 30. It has restricted people wishing to change the notes for smaller denominations to ₹20,000 per transaction. There is no restriction of depositing the notes in higher amounts in bank accounts after following KYC norms.
The RBI should have prepared mechanisms to exchange ₹2,000 banknotes before announcing such a decision, a third dealer said. The announcement should have been accompanied by advertisements and publicity campaigns so that the common man was reassured, he added.
“Once bitten twice shy. Even though general people don’t have many ₹2,000 notes and they have time till September 30 to get them exchanged in their banks, they don’t want to take any chance, thanks to the nightmarish experience of demonetisation of November 2016,” he said.
While many customers in Delhi could pay petrol or diesel bills through ₹2,000 banknotes, vehicle owners faced trouble in other cities and remote areas. “After heated arguments, I had to use my credit card to pay the fuel bill,” a Mumbai-based professional said, requesting anonymity.
“Petrol pumps are accepting ₹2,000 notes provided you fill fuel for the entire sum, as they don’t have small notes to return the balance,” said a Chandigarh-based businessman.