Petrol stations across India have seen bitter stoushes between attendants and frustrated customers, rushing to spend their soon-to-be voided large denomination bills.
Last week Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced that all Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would be voided at the end of the year, in the effort to hamper black market trading, however petrol pumps and toll booths were flagged to cease accepting the bills until November 11.
Although banks and other organisations pledged to exchange the unwanted currency for Rs 100 bills, consumers have predictably tried to spend the higher denominations at petrol pumps, rather than change them.
This has led to problems with point-of-sale change at stores and petrol stations, with attendants having to refuse the higher denomination currency because of shortages of the Rs 100 note.
Spokesperson for the Petrol Dealers’ Association, Ravi Schinde told Indian media that petrol stations advised vehicle owners to fill their tanks in increments of Rs 500 or Rs 1000, which led to arguments at bowsers.
Shinde said she demanded police protection at all pumps to ensure the situation did not get out of control.
“Throughout the day, there were policemen at the petrol pumps to ensure nothing went out of control. While there were several arguments, nothing untoward happened at any of the petrol pumps except the one at Nagpada, where I heard that a petrol attendant was slapped,” said Shinde.
It was reported that police rushed to the scene, but the attendant chose not to register a complaint.
Pharmacies and public transport ticket vendors were also plagued with similar problems, and at tollbooths fees were waived in order to ensure the flow of traffic.
Source: The Indian Express.