In the wake of demonetisation, 90% of angadiya service providers in the city — a parallel banking system and cash courier service for businessmen — have switched to regular courier services.
Since Independence, the angadiyas have been involved in transacting money, jewellery, gold, diamonds, and other precious stones. Diamond traders and businessmen prefer angadiya services as it involves mutual trust. The angadiyas transfer money, diamonds and jewellery within 24 hours for a small fee.
The trader lobby, which was already disturbed by demonetisation, feels the move will only add salt to their wounds.
“As soon as the ban on old notes was announced on November 8, we decided to support PM Narendra Modi. We stopped accepting cash couriers within a few days [of the announcement],” said Ashok Raj, a Masjid resident, who changed his firm to Quick Couriers, from the earlier Ashok Raj Angadiya Services. “If the PM, who belongs to the trading community is asking for it, we must respect his decision and trust his vision.”
While some angadiya service providers shifted to support a cashless economy, others switched seemingly out of fear.
Arvind Kanti, a Malad-based angadiya service provider, is a case in point. “It is better to retract the services now than to come under the scanner later,” Kanti said, adding, “We stopped cash courier service more than a month ago. We decided to quit it after November. There are no plans to resume the services anytime soon.”
Meanwhile, Ashok Patel, president, Fort Merchants’ Welfare Association president, said the business has been affected on a large scale after angadiyas stopped functioning. “We were facing a lot of problems because of the note ban. To add to it, angadiyas have stopped accepting cash couriers,” he said.
Patel said there are a couple of angadiyas functioning discreetly. “From last week, a couple of angadiyas have started accepting cash couriers. But they charge double or triple the original fee,” Patel said.
“Many angadiyas no want to become just another courier service, dealing a blow to another part of the city’s history,” said Dharmesh Ojha, a trader in Malad.
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