NEW DELHI: Nearly 700 petrol pumps across the country today started dispensing cash through debit card swipe in a bid to ease the cash crunch in the economy following the government's decision to withdraw 1,000 and 500 rupee notes.
The facility to provide Rs 2,000 per day per card will be extended to Rs 2,500 petrol pumps by this week end and will in due course be available at 20,000 outlets across the country.
The government had yesterday decided to allow up to Rs 2,000 per day per person to be dispensed against swiping of debit cards at select petrol pumps where POS machines of SBI are already available.
POS machines are the machines which are generally used for debit or credit card transactions.
Petrol pumps have been accepting old and now-defunct currency notes of 500 and 1,000 denominations and the same will continue till November 24, 2016.
There is no shortage of petroleum products at the petrol pumps and consumers can purchase them as per their needs, an official statement said.
As of 1600 hours today, "cash dispensing facility had become operational at 686 retail outlets", it said.
Of these, 350 outlets are of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), 266 Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and 70 Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL).
"The public sector oil companies, namely IOC, BPCL and HPCL, in association with State Bank of India, have come forward to ease some of the challenges being faced by the common public regarding availability of currencies for day to day transactions, post demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes," the statement said.
Senior officials of the three companies had a meeting with SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya yesterday where it was decided that an amount of up to Rs 2,000 per day per person in cash can be dispensed against swiping of debit card from select petrol pumps where POS machines of SBI are already available.
"It has been decided to start this facility at around 2,500 petrol pumps spread across the country, including rural areas, where SBI POS machines are provided," the statement said.
The oil firms are in discussions with SBI and other banks to extend this facility to over 20,000 petrol pumps gradually.
"Consumers are also advised to use cashless transactions -- credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, loyalty programmes etc -- for purchase of fuel so that there is no difficulty to consumers which is mainly associated with cash transactions," the statement said.