City’s small time vendors and grocers are facing a tough time as shortage of currency in the market following demonitisation has badly hit sales -- in some cases up to 30%.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised the country on Tuesday night when he announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes would no longer be legal tender -- a move aimed at tackling black money and graft.
The move, however, has hit grocers, e-rickshaw drivers, paan wallahs, food stall owners – who thrive on smaller denomination notes for their daily business.
Umesh Kumar, a guava seller on Prithviraj Road, said: “The sale was of only Rs 360 yesterday. Earlier, the sale used to be of over Rs 3,000 on an average. People come and give Rs 500 notes. From where do we give them change?”
His brother Hari Om, who sells custard apple, said: “People are only buying wheat, rice, vegetables etc. Who wants to buy fruits in such chaos?”
Most grocers at Sabzi Mandi said they have observed a sharp decline in the sales.
Tarun, a grocer at Kabir Marg, said his sales have been hit. He has cash savings of 25,000 and has been visiting the bank every day to exchange the notes.
Kalu Ram Bairwa, who sells grains for pigeons on MI Road, said the number of people buying grains to feed pigeons has come down. “I sell a plate of grains for Rs 10 and since afternoon, I have only earned Rs 100,” he said.
Raju Thakur, a barber MI Road, said he used to earn Rs 300-400 on an average every day, now he is earning only Rs 150-200.
“People don’t have notes. I can’t refuse my regular customers so I am not charging them and telling them to pay later when things stabilise,” said Thakur.
“Till now, we are managing somehow, but don’t know how it’s going to be in coming days.”
Despite inconvenience and drop in sales, some businessmen are, however, reposing faith in the government. Pradeep Kumar Sharma, a fruit-shake seller, said though his sales have plummeted by nearly 30% but he was hopeful that the move would ultimately benefit common people.
Arun, a chaat-wallah, said the people were being forced to flush out the black money they had stashed. “Ab tak toh sab agent they, ab lagta hai kisi ka baap aaya hai (Till now there were only stooges. Now, it seems that an independent strong-willed person has come,” Arun said referring to Prime Minister Modi.