The scrapping of high denomination currency notes and the subsequent cash crunch have come at a time when Urvashi Yadav’s chhole-kulchhe business was starting to prosper. Urvashi, a former nursery school teacher, started the food cart in June to supplement her family’s income.
For five months, she served her famed chhole-kulchhe for ₹40 to 300 customers per day and her earnings were picking up after the initial costs. But, then came the Prime Minister’s shock announcement on November 8 that ₹1,000 and ₹500 notes would no longer be legal tender. Since then, she says, sales have dipped by over 65% with less than 100 customers coming to her cart daily.
“Before November 8, I had no time to even attend my phone. Now, I have no customers,” Urvashi, a 34-year-old mother of two, says.
Urvashi’s family is well-off and owns a house worth ₹3 crore and SUVs. But, she was forced to set up the food cart after her husband Amit Yadav met with an accident in May. There is a possibility that he may not be able to walk after a hip replacement surgery in December. Urvashi
As she is trying hard to win her customers back, Urvashi says even working over time is not paying.
“Earlier, I would work from 9am to 4pm, but these days, I am here even after 5pm. My earnings were all in cash,” she says as she caters to her 20th customer, Vishal Chabbra, around 1pm on Wednesday. By 1pm, she says, she would have catered to more than 100 customers on a normal day, she says.
A graduate who speaks English fluently, Urvashi had to face resistance from her family before starting the business that did not match their social status. Despite the initial disagreements, her 71-year-old father-in-law, wing commander (retd) NK Yadav, kept the stall ticking when Urvashi fell sick last month.
Though the food stall under a peepal tree in the Sector 14 market accepted payments through e-commerce platform Paytm even before demonetisation, only 25% customers used the digital payment platform. Now, she has displayed at least three notices about Paytm payments.
With her ailing husband, Amit Yadav, quitting his job after the accident, the family became dependent on the earnings from the food cart. Amit, 37, who was a manager with a real estate firm, Orris Infrastructure, has been helping Urvashi since the last month.
“I think people do not want to part with the low denomination notes,” Amit says.