Cash crunch dampens festivities


  Markets are deserted as customers keep away 
-    Majority of shops have no swiping machines 
-    Small merchants and vendors badly affected 

Rajamahendravaram: Despite the onset of the festive season, ‘Rajamahendravaram market’, the largest in the Godavari districts wears a deserted look. While big business establishments are seeing modest footfalls thanks to the availability of swiping machines with them, small and petty traders have been badly hit by the cash crunch. With liquid cash becoming a precious commodity, customers are unwilling to part with their money for shopping for festivals; rather, they are keen on saving liquid money for more essential things. For those keen on shopping the cashless way, majority of the small traders do not have swiping machines. 

The major-affected business in the city is the cloth business. Cloth merchants say they have had only 10 percent business this festive season compared to the previous year.  “Normally, we do business of around Rs 25 lakh per day during the festive season. This time, we have sales of only around Rs 3 lakh per day. Given the cash crisis, people are not keen on spending money for clothes which is something of a luxury in the present situation,” said ‘Bommana’ Raj Kumar, prominent cloth merchant of city. 

He added that whatever business was clocked to date was only because of the swiping machines. 

The Mahatma Gandhi wholesale cloth market which consists of 500 shops has hardly any transactions as most of the shops have no swiping machines. Normally, around Rs 5 crore worth business takes place daily in the market but this season, the market has little to cheer about with minimal footfalls. It is a similar scenario at the fruit and flower markets. Venkata Rao, a fruit merchant at Kambala Tank fruit market said this has been the worst season in his 25 years of experience. He lamented that fruits were being damaged due to lack of business. 

State convener of Chamber of Commerce, Ashok Kumar Jain said that ‘kirana’ stores and small vendors had been badly hit by demonetisation.  Labelling demonetisation as ‘thoughtless and insane’, he said a huge number of daily wage-earners in the city were starving because of it.