People in Mumbai and suburbs continued to queue up before banks and ATMs to withdraw cash even as the resumption of road toll after over a three-week gap on Saturday resulted in vehicles crawling near plazas, especially due to the weekend rush.
While several banks have limited cash withdrawal due to the shortage of currency in their chests, a number of ATMs are not in operation.
Queues were seen outside many banks and a limited number of ATMs which were dispensing cash, as people lined up to take out some money to meet their start-of-month commitments.
As toll booths resumed their operations from 12 am on Saturday long queues were seen on all the toll plazas, including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, old highway between the two cities and Vashi toll booth on Sion-Panvel highway.
On November 9, a day after the Prime Minister announced scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, toll collection on national highways was suspended considering the shortage of change, which would cause difficulties to commuters.
Although the toll booth operators claimed that adequate arrangements had been made for digital payment, the paucity of change and weekend rush led to long vehicular queues at the booths. Security arrangements, including the deployment of traffic police, has been made to clear the roads.
A motorist at Mulund toll booth, said, “First I stood in a long queue to withdraw cash from bank and ATMs and now I am waiting here in traffic queue to pay a toll.”
Amin Sheikh, on a day-long trip out of the city, said, “The main concern is that Rs 2,000 note is not being accepted by anyone, including the toll collectors. They insisted on Rs 100 note, when I gave him new Rs 2,000 note. As I did not have Rs 100 note, I finally offered him Rs 500 note.”
An employee at suburban Dahisar toll point said, “People are mostly giving Rs 2,000 note for Rs 35 toll payment, which is creating problems. Hope this situation ends when we issue electronic cards to people.”
A spokesperson of IRB Infrastructure, which collects toll from 60 points across the country, said, “We have put in place system for digital payment, including installing credit card, debit card swipe facility to collect the toll at different points and lanes access the county.”
“Apart from this, the PoS (Point of Sale), Paytm and MobiKwik facilities have also been arranged to collect the toll at different points and lanes access the county,” he said.
The spokesperson for toll collector also said that they would soon install Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), a computerised system which is integrated with electronic equipment installed in the toll plazas.
“It reads the radio frequency identification (RFID)
tag that is stuck on the vehicle’s windscreen and opens the barrier to let the vehicle pass when it approaches the Plaza by deducting a certain amount,” said the spokesperson.
Abhay Tiwari, who paid toll at Vashi booth, said, “It’s good that digital facility is being set up here to collect the levy, but I feel that Rs 500 notes should continue to be accepted at toll booths until December 30. Government changing its decisions so frequently is not good for people.”
As banks would be closed tomorrow, several people made a beeline to withdraw the cash at banks and ATMs.
“Banks would be closed tomorrow and I don’t know whether the ATMs would be operational. I want at least Rs 10,000 today and I hope bank would not run out of money when my turn comes,” Darshan Sampat from neighbouring Thane city said, while waiting in a queue outside the Bank of Baroda.
However, a Mumbai resident Saurabh Srivastava expressed satisfaction that his bank was allowing to withdraw full permissible limit of Rs 24,000.
“Standing in queue again, 3rd time in last 3 weeks. Thankfully they are allowing full 24K withdrawal,” he tweeted.
Sushila Kothari, a homemaker from Parel area said, “Now it does not bother me anymore. Now I am used to standing in bank and ATM queues. But the government should have continued the facility of exchange the money.