Autorickshaw drivers and motorists, who visit the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refilling station at N T Wadi in Shivajinagar, have complained that the station staff is refusing to accept the demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. This has been a cause of many arguments between the station staff and the visitors, with the latter insisting that the former accept the notes, as is being done at other public petrol pumps. Till a few days ago, the station had refused to accept cards as the filling station run by the Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) didn’t even have a machine to swipe the cards.
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When Pune Newsline visited the station to check if the complaints were true, we found that the staffers were turning away those who tried to pay with Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes, claiming they had no change to tender.
“We have no issues accepting Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, but the problem is we don’t have enough Rs 100 notes to tender the change. The petrol-diesel station can refill Rs 500 worth of fuel, and they don’t need to pay back any change. With CNG, we can only sell fuel worth Rs 150 to Rs 200 to an auto-rickshaw, and Rs 300-350 in case of a car, even if we fill their tanks to full capacity. We need to give them cash in change which we don’t have,” said an executive working with the N T Wadi petrol pump. He also confirmed that for the first three days after the demonetisation announcement, the station did not have a card swiping machine, and it was procured later after customers started arguing with the station staff. The managing director of MNGL couldn’t be reached for comment.
However, auto-rickshaw drivers have complained that for the first few days after demonetisation, the MNGL station did accept the old notes, but later started to turn away customers. “They deny service on some pretext. Sometimes they say that they don’t have change, sometimes they complain about soiled or torn notes. We have no option but to pay in exact cash,” said Ashok Shinde, a resident of Sangamwadi.