Demonetisation robs vendors of fruits of hard labour

Sales took a major hit at fruits and vegetables vendors across Chennai due to demonetisation.

Published: 27th November 2016 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2016 02:34 PM   |  A+A-


A man walking past a closed branch of the Indian Bank at Harbour, in the city on Saturday | ashwin prasath

Express News Service

 CHENNAI: Fruit vendor Veeragavan stands in front of the Natesan Park at T Nagar with his wooden cart behind. “My sales  dropped by half,” he says, disappointed with demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 by the Centre.  The sun is overhead; it is 2 pm and the walkers and joggers have cleared out of the park outside where he sells fruits every day. Crates full of golden oranges, shiny apples, green and yellow bananas and other fruits are still heaped on his wooden cart. “I used to sell upto Rs 6,000 a day. Now I don’t even make Rs 2,500.”

Not very far from him is a general provisional store where the owner sits by himself reading the paper. Rajan, shop-keeper, says that his sales too have dropped sharply. “People walk away without buying if I don’t have change for Rs 2,000,” he says. Rajan who used to make upto Rs 11,000 a day now struggles to take Rs 6,000 home. Several street vendors and corner shop owners estimate their sales dip at least 50 per cent. However,  upermarkets, air-conditioned fruit and vegetable markets claim only a marginal dip in sales.

A branch manager of a popular supermarket chain, Kalai Mani says, “Earlier the maximum sale through card was Rs 20,000; now it has gone up to Rs 45,000.” While sales through card have more than doubled, he adds that use of Sudexo vouchers has almost tripled and cash sales have tapered. The sales at his branch saw a 15 per cent dip after November 8.

A popular chain of fruit and vegetable store in Egmore claimed a similar drop. “The regulars get sold as usual, but seasonal fruits are not getting sold,” says the sales manager. A few metres from this air-conditioned store, a pavement fruit and vegetable vendor Rajeswari and her husband claim that demonetisation has wrecked their life. She says that two-thirds of her income have vanished as customers who used to buy for Rs 500 from her now only buy for the change that they carry in hand.


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