Even before election heat picks up in Tamil Nadu, traders across the State are agitated over the drive by poll authorities to seize “unaccounted cash.”
What bothers traders more is the ceiling on cash that can be carried. At present, only up to Rs. 50,000 can be carried, which, they say, is “extremely low.” Lack of clarity on supporting documents is another issue that exercises them.
A Madurai trader recalls that the authorities in the city three days ago seized Myanmar currency from a Tuticorin trader. When he produced valid documents, he was allowed to take the currency. But, the trader was subjected to another round of scrutiny at the next check-post. This practice should change, he says.
In Salem and Namakkal, the entire trading community has decided to close shops on Saturday to protest against the drive. President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, R.R. Balasundharam, says those in the jewellery and construction sectors are among the worst hit. Customers hesitate to visit showrooms and postpone purchase until elections are over, a gold jeweller in Chennai feels.
As on Wednesday, the total amount seized by officials all over the State was about Rs. 6.06 crore and the value of seizure in kind was around Rs. 42 lakh.
Ve.Govindarajalu, State treasurer, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangakalin Peramaippu, claims that only “innocent and genuine” traders and the public have been affected.
The traders also raise the issue of enhancing the ceiling on the amount of cash to be carried.
(With inputs from S. Poorvaja in Madurai, S. Ganesan in Tiruchi, M.K. Ananth in Salem, M. Soundariya Preetha in Coimbatore, R. Krishnamoorthy in Erode and K. Lakshmi in Chennai)