Cash curb hits sales at textile shops in Erode

Published - January 31, 2023 05:58 pm IST - ERODE

The textile market in Erode wears a deserted look on Tuesday.

The textile market in Erode wears a deserted look on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: M. GOVARTHAN

Restriction on carrying cash and seizure of cash for want of valid documents as part of the enforcement of the model code of conduct has led to drastic drop in sales at the textile markets in Erode.

As many as 330 daily shops and 740 weekly shops function at the E. K. M. Abdul Gani Textile  Market (Gani Market) at Panneerselvam Park in the city while over 3,200 shops selling textile products function at Eswaran Kovil Street, Manikoondu, Ashokapuram and near Central Theatre.

Since Erode is one of the reputed textile hubs in the State, merchants and traders from most of the districts and from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra make bulk purchases at the weekly shops that function on Mondays and Tuesdays. All these shops are located in the area that comes under the Erode (East) Assembly constituency where the by-election is scheduled for February 27.

The Election Commission’s restriction on carrying cash above ₹ 50,000 has hit the merchants and traders who could not carry cash to purchase. On Monday, ₹4 lakh was seized from merchants from Andhra Pradesh and Kerala as they could not produce documents.

K. Selvaraj, president of the Erode Gani Market Weekly All Textile Merchants’ Association, said, as against the usual business of 40% to 60%, the wholesale business was 10% on Tuesday. “We have asked our regular merchants in other States on the need to carry valid documents. But, none came,” he said and feared that the impasse would continue till the model code of conduct is withdrawn.

P. Murugesan, a shopkeeper, said usually merchants purchased for a minimum of ₹ 5 lakh, while a trader who sold products on two-wheeler purchased for ₹ 1 lakh. “They are not able to carry cash or use the ATMs for payment,” he said and added that minimum transactions were carried out through online payments. The trader wanted the election officials to accept PAN cards or self-declaration forms from the merchants to carry cash beyond the limit.

Though a three-member committee has been formed by the District Election Officer to conduct an inquiry to confirm that the seized cash has nothing to do with the elections and release the cash, traders said merchants were unaware of the committee and hence it was not possible for them to submit necessary documents.

“Either the limit for carrying cash need to be increased or relaxation should be given to merchants and traders,” said Mr. Selvaraj who added that stock had piled up to many crores in the last one week.

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