Cash purchase of fuel at petrol pumps using Rs 2,000 notes has swelled to a high 90 per cent of daily sales, the All India Petrol Pump Dealers’ Association said on Monday. Buyers have rushed to tender the currency notes withdrawn by the government last week, leading to digital sales at pumps falling to just 10 per cent of daily sales, down from the average 40 per cent.
Petrol pump dealers said customers were using the withdrawn note to make small purchases of Rs 100 & Rs 200 and asking for the return in change. “We request the RBI to give guidelines to banks for providing enough small denomination notes, especially to petrol pumps in lieu of Rs 2,000 notes, so that we can smoothly service our customers,” Ajay Bansal, president of the association, said in a statement.
Petrol pumps and some other daily essential services were allowed to accept old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes after November 8, 2016 demonetisation of nearly 86 per cent of the currency notes. Petrol pumps, however, soon turned into outlets to launder banned currency notes, leading to the government prematurely withdrawing the facility.
Arguing that dealers have to deposit the same in banks on a daily basis, Bansal said customers are repeatedly being requested to use cards or digital payment for fuel purchases. He expressed apprehension that petrol pump dealers would again face problems as they did during the 2016 demonetisation when most dealers got income tax notices or were raided “without any fault” of theirs.
The Rs 2,000 currency notes constitute around 10.8 per cent of total currency in circulation or Rs 3.6 trillion. The notes can be exchanged or deposited till September 30, 2023.