New Delhi: As Mehboob Alam sits on his plastic chair, facing a pile of boxes packed with custard apples, he's aware of the task at hand. It's the reason he's trying to make a quick bargain even if he ends up on the losing side. As a retailer approaches him, he says, "I'm giving this to him for 90 rupees (for one box), when I know it should get me Rs 120. But if I don't sell this stock today, it will get spoiled tomorrow and I may have to throw it."
It's not just the traders. From the truck driver, to the porter and even the tea seller, the lack of smaller denominations of currency is starting to hurt. Truck driver Raju Sharma has just returned after supplying brinjals to the Keshav Mandi in Delhi but he's not happy. "I've been given Rs 8,000 in cash but all are 500 rupee notes. It was these notes or nothing."
Ramvilas the tea seller has had a busy morning. "People have two teas and give 500 rupees. Where do I get change for that? I try to return some of the money, the rest I have to let go."
Nabi Ahmed, a porter, who helps unload fruit boxes at Azadpur sums up the mood well - "sannata hai", he says, referring to a bustling wholesale market that's gone unusually quiet.
At Asia's biggest wholesale fruit and vegetable market, commission agents say the number of trucks coming in has dropped by almost 50 per cent in just a week since the government announced the note ban.
Members of the marketing committee here say there is a marginal improvement from last week, but still a long way to go before things can be back to normal.
Rajendra Sharma, Chairman, Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee told NDTV, "There are fights here every day, because those who want to sell aren't getting the price for it and those buying don't have the money in the denominations needed. The impact will be felt by farmers eventually since its their produce that isn't fetching the right price."