In a move to assuage frayed nerves, the Central government on Friday extended the use of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes for paying public utility bills such as electricity bills, property taxes, and water bills by another 72 hours. While withdrawing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from the night of November 8-9, the government had allowed use of the old currency at government hospitals, railway ticketing, public transport, airline ticketing at airports, milk booths, crematoria/burial grounds and petrol pumps for 72 hours. This list was later expanded to include payments for metro rail tickets, highway and road toll, purchase of medicines on doctor prescription from the government and private pharmacies, LPG gas cylinders, railway catering, electricity and water bills and ASI monument entry tickets.
Nearly three days after the government announced its decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in a bid to curb black money, the sudden move has left the nation crippled.
Even though the RBI announced that new notes will be pumped into banks by November 10, there were no signs of immediate relief even as several cash strapped people were asked to go back after bank servers at several branches reportedly collapsed while several ATMs went dry in a few hours.
Public utility bills include only household bills. Court fee will also be allowed to be paid in old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. Old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes will be accepted for payment of fees, charges, taxes, penalty to central and state governments, including municipalities and local bodies. Such old notes will also be accepted for payment of
utility charges like water and electricity. The official said while the old notes were allowed to be accepted for highway toll payment, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has freed national highways of any toll charges till November 14.
(With inputs from PTI)