The wholesale and retail business at Posta in Burrabazar, Eastern India’s biggest wholesale market has come to a standstill for the second day on Friday due to inadequate supply of the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes leading to loss of trade worth crores of rupees.
The virtual closure of the market has affected retail stores in the suburbs and villages.The sudden withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has affected all sections of people in Burrabazar, from daily wage earners and handcart pullers to big wholesale dealers.
The businessmen said if the situation did not improve within a day or two the whole economy of the market would collapse.
The ever busy lanes and by lanes of Posta which remain crowded throughout the day wore a deserted look with many of the loaders and handcart pullers enjoying afternoon siesta. The usual hustle bustle for which the area is famous is missing and one visiting the area will feel as if an unofficial bandh is being observed.
Loha Singh, a handcart puller said that he was starving since Wednesday afternoon as the eateries had refused to give food unless the exact amount was paid.
“Shortly after the announcement that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes have been banned on Tuesday
evening, the eatery stopped giving us food on credit and from Wednesday afternoon it stopped giving food unless we pay the exact amount as the owner did not have change.
“I used to earn Rs 300 to Rs 350 per day which has come down to Rs 50 from Wednesday morning. If this continues we will die,” an anguished Singh said.
Ranjan Kumar Sahu, a wholesale dealer in maize powder and cinnamon said the hasty decision to ban notes had affected all sections of people. “As there is no money, we cannot entertain the retailers and as they cannot buy goods, the loaders and handcart pullers have no work. We have not downed the shutter but there is no business from Wednesday,” he said.
Sahu said the retailers generally make payments on weekends but since the announcement made on Tuesday night, the wholesalers stopped giving goods on credit.
Some retailers proposed to give the money by cheque which the wholesalers refused as it would take two to three days to encash.
“We are heading for a disaster and if the situation does not improve by Monday, all markets in the city and suburbs will collapse,” Sahu said.
Sukhdeb Sarkar, a retail businessman said for the past 24 hours there was no business as he did not have any change. “If I go to the bank to exchange old notes that will take two to three hours and I cannot send my son as the account is in my name and I will have to carry identity proof. If I leave my shop I may lose a customer who might buy paying the exact amount.”
However, in the municipal markets in Salt Lake, traders dealing with perishable goods accepted old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.