There is some relief for those frustrated by long queues outside banks and ATMs as from today you can drive into a petrol pump to draw cash. Just swipe your debit card at petrol stations run by state-run oil companies and you will get Rs 2,000.
To begin with, the facility will be available at 2,500 petrol pumps across the country that have card swipe machines from State Bank of India, the country's largest bank. In next three days, the facility will be extended to 20,000 outlets that have card swipe machines from HDFC Bank, Citibank and ICICI Bank.
The move is part of the government's efforts to ease the rush for new currency notes at bank branches and functional ATMs following ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bills.
There are, however, apprehension that the facility may result in a rush at petrol pumps, which could inconvenience customers who are there to get petrol.
The details of the plan to use pumps to dispense cash were worked out on Thursday at a meeting between senior executives of Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum and SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya.
The facility to dispense cash from petrol pumps will continue even after November 24, the time till which old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 can be used to pay for essential services. The withdrawal will be restricted to Rs 2,000 per debit card per day.