While restaurants have the facility for online transactions, small stalls and roadside food corners are affected by the cash crisis in the city.

Bondas go stale coconut sellers penniless How demonetisation is affecting street businesses
news Demonetisation Saturday, December 03, 2016 - 10:57

The potato bondas on the roadside stall look stale and cold. They cost just Rs. 20 per plate, but even that has suddenly become too expensive for several people in Hyderabad.

“Every morning and evening I used to get a lot of customers, mostly bachelors going to or returning from office who stop by and eat. But for the past two weeks, my business is down by 40%,” Shankar laments.

Shankar, a 49-year-old food vendor in Kundan Bagh, has been struggling to sell his potato bondas because people don’t have currency notes, and his business has been hit hard after demonetisation. “Suddenly Rs.20 has become expensive, because nobody has change,” he says.

The pale blue stall he drags to different places in Begumpet from morning to evening stands testimony to the deep crisis demonetisation has plunged small businesses into.

“When people can use debit card to make payments, why will they spend change on stalls?” he asks.  While restaurants have the facility for online transactions, small stalls and roadside food corners are affected by the cash crisis in the city. 

Similar is the case of Nanchariya, a 35-year-old roadside coconut seller. In the first few days, when he was unaware of the new currency scheme, people gave him Rs. 500 notes and took change. “I don't have a bank account, I still have three Rs. 500 notes with me, it is useless for me now,” he says.

Even after new notes being introduced, nothing much has changed for him. “The same problem still exists. People are more keen on asking how much change I have rather than buying coconuts. They usually insist on change for Rs. 2000 after buying five coconuts, which will hardly cost Rs.100,” he says 

He also points out that mostly, people who wait for the bus in the nearby bus stand were his main customers. But now that there is a huge shortage of cash, people don’t want to use it on roadside food, and would rather have a cold drink at a place where they can swipe a card and keep the cash for later. 

Tulsi food center in Begumpet, a Bengali food corner in a congested colony at Begumpet, has also been affected by the demonetisation. “After November 8, our business has come down by 40%,” says Tanmay Mondal, owner of the food center. 

Before the demonetisation the shop used to make more than Rs.8000 a day, now it hardly makes Rs.4000-5000. “The rent, food expenses and our own expenses - everything we have to manage within what we earn. For the past three weeks, we have lost so many customers due to lack of notes. Even if I think of buying a card-swipe machine, it will be very expensive for me,” he adds.

While government wants vendors to go cashless and use online transaction, the current crisis has set these traders back by several months of earnings.


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