EVEN AS the 50-day deadline given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ended, city traders, especially jewellers, claim that they are still facing the heat of demonetisation as their sales are far from normal. The traders assert that although they are encouraging payments through cards or online system, they are not getting the sale money from banks as the latter claim shortage of cash. President of Chandigarh Jewellers’ Association Rajiv Sahdev insists they have witnessed only 10 per cent sales so far. “We have witnessed just 10 per cent sales even after 50 days of demonetisation. Due to unavailability of cash, people are buying only essentials. Our trade is something which involves the costliest thing. We are just sitting without any work,” says Sahdev.
Sanjiv Chadha, president of Progressive Traders’ Association in Sector 17, says, “Things are not back to normal even after 50 days. This is the season when we have good sales and our sales are 40 per cent down.” He adds, “I had to give cash to my son as he was going to Delhi but bank officials said that I can get the money transferred into his account but not withdraw any cash.”
Watch what else is making news
Shopkeepers complain that even if they use point of sale (PoS) machines, they cannot take the sale money as banks refuse to pay cash. “I used a PoS machine but after a while when I went to the bank to take the money that got collected through sales, the bank said they won’t be able to give it. So I have rather been preferring to take cash from people,” says a retail trader. Hari Krishan Mahajan, a confectionery shopkeeper in Sector 23, says, “Two ATMs near my shop have been shut for the last many days. People need cash to make small payments. The government needs to pull up its socks now.”
On the MC election results in which the BJP made a clean sweep, Mahajan says, “Demonetisation did not play any role in the civic elections, which are mostly about local candidates and local issues.” While the BJP claims that people supported demonetisation, another trader says, “We are suffering losses. But in the MC elections, people voted for candidates, not demonetisation. Congress did not work hard this time and their choice of candidates was weak.” Some traders have not lost hope. “Maybe things are going to be fine after five to six months,” says another trader.