Currency crisis hits Agra industries, hotels

Agra, Nov 11 (IANS) Owners of small scale industries in Agra say they face an uncertain future following the abrupt spiking of the 500 and 1,000 currency notes. Hotels too have been hit hard.

A number of wholesale markets remained closed in Agra. To add to the confusion, there were rumours of raids in Lohar Gali market. The jewellery and bullion shops wore a deserted look.

The hotels and tourism trade have been hit badly. Tourists who arrived with big denomination notes faced huge problems after the government move on Tuesday that 500 and 1,000 rupee notes would no more be legal tender.

“Foreign tourists will have a problem buying tickets at heritage monuments,” tourist guide Ved Gautam said.

Social activist Kaushal Narayan Sharma said shops in the main bazars, especially Lohar Gali, were closed after a rumour of an income tax raid.

“Business is finished,” he said. “Shopkeepers are playing chess and ludo. Jai Shri Ram, no kaam.”

Business leader Ravindra Pal Singh Timma said that shopkeepers were facing huge problems because of the 500-1,000 rupee spiking.

“People are feeling cheated,” he said.

What with people unable to surrender and exchange the old currency and withdraw money from their accounts because of the huge rush at banks, the money crunch has led to unexpected problems.

In nearby Mathura and Firozabad, businessmen are angry.

“Many feel they are finished. No one is coming forward to buy finished goods and there is no money to clear bills for raw materials,” said Kishan Lal, a transport company operator.

“The corner kirana shop owner is not able to sell anything as there is no money with people to buy,” he added.

The realtors are facing the heat.

“The common man is pointlessly being punished for no fault of his,” said vegetable vendor Kedar Nath, staring a long queue outside a bank.