Contrary to the common trend of motorists rushing to fuel stations to use their old `500 and `1,000 notes, the sale of petrol and diesel has seen a drop of 20-25% in November this year against the year-ago period, say dealers.
“In the first few days of demonetisation, the sale of fuel had increased by nearly half, but gradually it has dropped. To our surprise, the sales were recorded 20-25% lower on November 30 compared to the year-ago period,” said Ajay Bansal, president of All India Petroleum Dealers Association.
A fuel station on an average sells nearly 1.70 lakh litre petrol and diesel. Of this, a chunk or about 1.10-1.20 lakh litre is diesel. Bansal said he had spoken to petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday requesting him to remove petrol pumps from the list of establishments where old notes were accepted.
Bansal said about 11,000-12,000 fuel pumps across the country tried to roll out the new banknotes using card-swiping-machines, but the programme was not successful as only State Bank of India (SBI) was giving out the new ones.
The petrol pump owners faced difficulty as their staff had to wait an entire day to deposit the cash at bank branches.
“The refineries do not accept cash and we need to pay them via RTGS (real-time gross settlement systems). So, we need to deposit the cash collected at pumps to bank everyday,” Bansal added.
However, supply of LPG continues to be in the exempted category for the purpose of payment through old `500 banknotes.
Purchase of air tickets at the airports using the old notes will also be removed from the exemption list with effect from midnight of December 2, the finance ministry said in a statement.
Enough time has been allowed for travellers to be prepared with legal tender and/or non cash modes of payment, it said.