On Arya Samaj Road leading up to Karol Bagh market, Arun Pal, who was parking his Maruti Ritz, was pleading with a parking attendant. “You can note down my car number. My shop is on the next road. Take money from me the next time I come.”
The attendant Santosh Bhagat, engaged by the New Delhi Municipal Council, insisted that Pal pay the parking charge of Rs 50.
Pal then helplessly opened his wallet with notes of 500 and 1,000. “My wallet is full of cash but it is useless. I came to buy a bluetooth device but couldn’t. And now I am having to ask the parking attendant for credit,” Pal said.
For want of change, Bhagat said, he was forced to let a number of people go without paying parking charges.
Uncharacteristic of Karol Bagh market, pedestrians had enough room to walk and shoppers wandered about in disappointment.
Paul Powell, a Polish tourist, said, “We got to know only this morning that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are no longer valid. I’ve been trying to buy T-shirts and three places have turned down my cash payment. It’s definitely a problem.”
In Gandhi Nagar, Kanwal Kumar Balli, president of the Association of Wholesale Readymade Garments Dealers, had a hard time putting down the phone. “There are about 10,000 shops in Gandhi Nagar market engaged in sale of textiles, garments, accessories and allied industries. Since morning, I have been getting calls asking if they should accept Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes or if they should shut their shops.”
Balli said most traders in the market deal in cash and the demonetisation of the two notes and a cap on ATM withdrawals in future will make things difficult.
The bustling Sarojini Nagar Market in south Delhi too had sparse crowd on Wednesday, with most shoppers struggling to make payments in the cash-dominated market. With winter jackets spread out on the floor, Shiv Prasad, a shopkeeper shouted, “Le jao, le jao 500 wala 100 rupiye mein (Buy jackets worth Rs 500 for Rs 100).”
He said he had waited all day for a customer but no one showed up because nobody had cash to pay.
Ashok Randhawa, who also sells garments in Sarojini Nagar, said they did accept card payments as those attracted a transaction fee of 2.5 per cent, which customers want to avoid.
“Customers prefer paying in cash. On an average, we sell garments worth Rs 15,000-20,000 daily. Today we sold goods worth Rs 1,200,” Randhawa said.