The hasty and arbitrary decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes has caused plenty of problems for local shopkeepers who are forced to sell goods to people on credit taking very heavy risks.
Shopkeepers claimed that usually, there are a set of people who take goods on credit and clear their dues at the beginning of every month. There are another section of people who pay immediately after buying a good. But now the situation is such that most people are coming to the shops without enough money.
The rest were claiming that they have failed to withdraw money from banks and neither the ATMs were working, but they have to buy grocery items for their family members.
Monotosh Hazra, a local shopkeeper at Liluah in Howrah, said: “We are finding ourselves in a helpless situation when people from the locality are coming and saying that they do not even have a little bit of rice, pulses, sugar, salt and oil left at home.
They are requesting us to sell them goods on credit or else their children will starve. They are assuring us that they will give money as soon as they manage to withdraw it either from bank or the ATMs. But we are confused and apprehensive about when the situation is going to be normal and people like this will clear their dues.”
He further said that if they do not give them goods on credit then it will remain stocked in their store. Thus they are left in an odd situation.
“Moreover, now a good section of people carry debit cards and they would go to the retail shops to buy the essential goods if we don’t give them on credit,” he said adding that they are also planning to install the system that will enable use of plastic money in their shops as well so that they do not have to sell goods on credit to debit or credit card holders.
Farmers who come from nearby villages to sell their produce in the markets in the city and its adjacent areas are in grimmer situation.
Manju Das, a farmer, said that they have no other choice apart from coming to the market everyday as people would not buy if they don’t get vegetables in fresh condition.
“Thus, we are selling out almost the entire produce on credit without knowing whether we will get the money. The reason being a person may stop coming to the market for a month and go to some other place to buy vegetables to avoid clearing the due,” she said.
The situation in the banks turned worse on Saturday as people started losing their patience that resulted in chaos at several banks. Shutters of most ATMs were pulled down and “No Cash” board was displayed outside the ATMs which were open.
People had expected that they would at least get Rs 2,000 from ATMs on Saturday. But the situation turned worse with the service remaining almost suspended since morning.
People placed bricks and empty drinking water bottles early in the morning to identify their place in a queue outside an e-corner of a nationalised bank and left for their work. They returned a few minutes ahead of their turn and withdrew money.
Hawkers in Esplanade, Shyambazar and Gariahat claimed that the per-day sell has dropped drastically. They have incurred a heavy loss due to the hasty decision of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Yesterday (Friday) I have sold out some articles even by incurring loss and we might have to close our stalls if the situation continues like this for another few days,” she said.