In order to make the demonetisation drive smoother and seamless, the State Bank of India (SBI) along with three state-run old companies have joined forces to dispense cash of up to Rs. 2,000 at petrol pumps. Initially the facility is been made available at 2,500 select petrol stations of the country that have card swipe machines (PoS terminals) from SBI. The facility is touted to be extended to over 20,000 petrol pumps that have card swipe machines from ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Citibank.
The move was initiated by the All India Petroleum Dealers Association and is aimed at easing the rush to score new currencies at banks branches and ATMs after the scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the central government. However, the move which was taken after the AIPDA representatives met the SBI chairperson Arundhatti Bhattacharya yesterday, is likely to trigger chaos and horrendous rush at petrol pumps, which could create a havoc for customers seeking to fuel up their vehicles.
This facility to withdraw cash from fuel stations will continue even after November 24, the last day to use the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency note for essential services. The withdraw amount is limited to Rs 2,000 per debit card per day. It is also suggested to the consumers to opt for cashless transaction including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, loyalty programmes etc. as much as possible.
Commenting about the same, Ajay Bansal, President, AIPDA told a media daily that the proposal was accepted by government and the association will never shy away from serving any national cause. The association is happy to assist the government in its fight to curb corruption and terrorism in the country, he added.
The move came after the petroleum and natural gas ministry approached the finance ministry with a proposal seeking distribution of smaller denomination notes to petrol pumps and to initiate cash withdrawal centres. Soon after the PM Modi’s demonetisation drive, sales at petrol pumps splurged by 15-40 per cent, as government had allowed these pumps to accept the exempted currencies.
Till now petrol pumps, due to shortage of smaller denomination notes, have been selling fuel in round figures, but this move would help restore normal operation at petrol pumps and avoid the ongoing chaos.
Currently, India has about 56, 190 fuel pumps, out of which 52,604 is run by state-run Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation. Each of these outlets sell around 170 kiloletre of fuel, on a monthly basis.