Afghani traders face demonetisation blues at IITF

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) The shining jewels, elegant carpets, delectable dry fruits and other authentic Afghani attractions at the ongoing India International Trade Fair (IITF) fail to find their worth, thanks to the cash crunch that has set in after the demonetisation move.

Afghani traders are not accepting the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes and also do not have the PoS machines. They are utterly disappointment with the 36th edition of the trade fair, as there has been very limited sale of all their products, including table covers, women’s dresses and overcoats.

The carpet sellers are the worst sufferers of the lot. Their carpets range between Rs 3,000 and Rs 90,000. Without the card payment service, it has become almost impossible for them to do any business.

“I have been participating in the fair for the past six years. There hasn’t been anything exciting about sales this year as compared to the last year or before that,” carpet trader Humayun told IANS.

“Until last year, we had a sale of at least Rs 1 lakh every day. Without asking where the ATM machine is, the customers would pay in cash. But this time, we are barely doing business worth about Rs 20,000 a day,” he added.

Humayun also said: “None of us has a bank account here in India. So, we cannot get the card machine.”

One of the vendors complained that the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) did not cooperate in terms of arranging the card machine.

“The ITPO should have arranged the ATM service. Instead, they told us to find Indian friends to get an account. The government should provide us some help in this regard,” Siddiq Ullah said.

For dry fruit trader Jawat Khan, there is no time to exchange the old currency as his whole day is spent at the fair.

“We can’t accept old currency notes as there is no time to exchange it. We are here at the fair from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” he said.

“The quality of our dry fruits is great. We make our customers taste them before they buy, as people don’t realise the richness of these nuts without tasting. A lot of it now going to just tasting, since people seldom buy due to the money shortage.”

Malika Azad from the Afghani pavilion was equally distressed.

“Our dresses range between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000, but people are finding the prices too high because of this money problem in India. It is very difficult to sell anything at this point of time in this country,” she said.