The roads, which used to get jammed due to the buyers in the market, now has fewer buyers and more empty shops.

The buzz in T Nagar dwindles Chennais shopping hub faces demonetisation crunch
news Demonetisation Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 19:48

The famous Saravana jewellery store in T Nagar which used to be bustling with people from morning 9 am, now has people coming only after 10:30am and has no customers after 7pm.

From November 9, the day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, customers have reduced drastically, says CC Balaji, Manager of Saravana Stores. 

“Our main customers who used to buy jewellery from the shop are now standing outside ATMs to get cash. We only have 20 to 25 per cent customers who are buying jewellery with cards,” he says. 

Their incentives this month haven’t materialised after demonetisation.

The roads, which used to get jammed due to the buyers in the market, now has fewer buyers and more empty shops. 

Most stores in Chennai’s T Nagar market face this problem, but Balaji says that small retailers will be more affected. Small retailers pay their staff their daily wages in cash, and are unable to do so now. This has forced many workers to find other employment, says Balaji.

Kumaran silks store also has a similar story to tell. “Business has gone done by 50 per cent. People are buying clothes only with cards. All the staff are paid by transferring money to their bank accounts,” says Mani, (63), cashier at Kumaran Silks.

The popular Pothy’s store and Chennai Silks stores are also facing losses. “There is a cap on payments by debit cards. It is Rs 20,000 for Indian Bank and Rs 50,000 for State Bank of India. People cannot shop more than that. Just 30% of usual people are coming (every day) after demonetisation,” says Prakash, cashier at Pothy’s store. 

Khadim’s stores also sees just about 30% of its usual customers, even though there is a 50% discount on shoes. “Most people use cards. For a few days, it will be like this but that it will be fine soon,” says cashier Biltu Roy.

Vendors and small stores have also seen a decline in their earnings. “Earlier, I used to sell things for Rs. 1000 per day but now I can only make about Rs 400,” says Selvaraj, (43), a vendor who has been selling hair clips and earrings for three years.

“I used to make about Rs 1200 daily in the shop but now, it is difficult to earn Rs. 500,” says Nijendran, (24), a worker at a small clothes shop. Because of lesser earnings, his salary gets deducted. “Earlier, I used to earn about Rs. 500 daily but now it has been reduced to Rs. 300 per day,” says Nijendran.

Sadiq, (29), works at Citigirls, a garments shop that was started about five days ago. “Business has been dull and we were promised Rs. 500 per day. But our wages are getting delayed and we get it after two or three days,” he says.

Customers too find it difficult to find shops that will accept cards. “We can only buy from big shops. Moreover, some of the shops do not accept cards. Most of the ATMs are not functioning in the area,” says Segarya Vinoth, (32).  


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