New Delhi, Nov 16: The currency crisis today appeared to have started impacting small businesses like roadside restaurants as banks struggled to dispense enough valid notes for the seventh day in a row amid long-winding queues.
With 86 per cent of the currency taken away with the withdrawal of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes, small businesses - from vegetable vendors to dhabas and small kirana stores - that use cash as mode of transaction were the worst hit.
A bulk of daily labourers were rendered jobless as construction and other activities came to a standstill in view of cement, sand and other supplies not coming in.
Truckers too were reportedly stranded on highways as drivers ran out of valid currency notes, effecting movement of goods in several parts of the country. Vegetable and fruit wholesale markets as well as foodgrain mandis in many parts also reported very low business due to shortage of cash.
Even big hotels and malls reported a drop in footfall as out-of-cash public decided to skip them. As Rajya Sabha debated the demonetisation move, the government worked overtime to fix the mess by trying to increase supply and getting as many ATMs calibrated to dispensing new currency notes.
But it may not be before one week that half of the over 2 lakh cash vending ATMs to be online. Seeking immediate withdrawal of demonetisation exercise, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today met President Pranab Mukherjee along with leaders of National Conference, AAP and NDA ally Shiv Sena and submitted a memorandum voicing serious concern over the crisis arising out of ban on Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes.
At the same time, united opposition mounted an assault on the government over demonetisation, saying it had led to "economic anarchy" in the country and alleged selective leak of the information before the announcement which should be probed by a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
Meanwhile, to stop repeat money exchangers thronging banks with invalid currency notes, banks have started applying indelible ink mark on the right hand index finger of customers in the select metro cities.
SBI and few other banks in Delhi have started using indelible ink. As per the government statement, 11 branches of SBI are using the method to weed out customers queueing up again and again to exchange invalid currency notes.