A severe cash crunch brings Delhi's wholesale vegetable market to a near halt with supplies drying up as sellers, buyers and commission agents search for elusive currency to trade their wares. As Sonia Legg reports, prices are also expected to spiral.
It's one of India's biggest wholesale markets but you wouldn't know it. There's plenty of time for a game or two - and a bit of rest and relaxation. Azadur vegetable market is feeling the effects of a cash crunch after India's move to abolish two of its largest bank notes. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) A SMALL TIME VEGETABLE VENDOR, RAM SEWAK, SAYING: "Business is really down, no one is accepting 500 rupee bills, it's a big problem for us. I have one 500 rupee note and want to buy tomatoes but they are not accepting it." The move to demonetize 500 and 1,000 rupee bills was introduced to fight tax evasion, corruption and forgery - and boost the economy. It's instead sparked protests and anger as business suffers. Azadur normally supplies 15,000 tonnes of fruit and veg to Delhi and other northern cities. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) A COMMISSION AGENT AT DELHI'S AZADPUR WHOLESALE MARKET, RAGHUBIR SINGH, SAYING: "Farmers want small currency bills from us and we don't have them. We try and deposit our big notes in banks but there's too many people rushing to do the same." Those who pack and load are also complaining, saying some bosses are trying to palm off the big notes in their wages. Others aren't paying them at all because there's no work. Some have been venting their anger at one politician for an untimely show of excess. Gali Janardhana Reddy - released from jail last year after an illegal mining case - has been celebrating his daughter's wedding. 50,000 guests were reportedly invited. The estimated cost - five billion rupees - that's around $73 million dollars.