Bidar, known as the pulse bowl of the State for producing at least 40 per cent of the supply of major pulses such as green gram, black gram, and red gram and oil seeds like soya, has seen a significant dip in transactions over the last week.
The Gandhi Gunj market (named after Mahatma Gandhi, who raised money for reconstruction of the fire-destroyed market in the 1930s), usually crowded, now looks almost deserted. There are only a handful of pushcarts and tempos carrying foodgrains and traders are waiting for goods to arrive.
The problem starts with harvesting.
Farmers are unable to hire labourers as they cannot pay them and there is no money to transport either.
It is impossible to expect a farmer to accept a cheque or electronic transfer of money, he says.
The issue has impacted the processing industry too. On an average, around 100 lorries carrying 10,000 quintals of grain, pulses, and oil seeds would leave the Gandhi Gunj market. But that has been reduced by at least 50 to 60 per cent, Basavaraj Dhannur, who runs a red gram processing mill, said. He said millers were forced to sell their produce for low prices, as there were few buyers.
There are around 25 mills in Bidar district and we produce around 50 to 60 lorries full of toor dal every day.
“We cannot store it for 50 days till the currency situation improves,” he said.
“Banks that have lent us working capital will not go easy on us if we tell them we have stored our produce,” he said.
“If this situation continues, then it will have a long-term adverse impact on foodgrain supply itself,’’ says B.G. Shetkar, president, Bidar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
However, he urged traders to bear with the Union government as it is relaxing norms everyday and that the overall situation would improve considerably in the coming weeks.