Demonetisation has affected the business of Ponk centres in Vadodara, Surat and other parts of the state with many of them planning to shut the shop if the cash flow situation does not improve in the days to come.
Ponk is a green seed delicacy famous in Gujarat. After harvesting, the green seeds are roasted in mud ovens and delivered to the stalls. Opening up of Ponk centres is eagerly awaited by people in the state during the winter season.
"As every year, I have set-up a centre on the vacant plot of Ellora Park area of the city before the beginning of the winter season but have been incurring losses due to 50 per cent dip in the number of customers this year in the wake of demonetisation," Kiran Patel, a 42-year-old farmer from Kothav village in Karjan taluka of the district said.
"It is for the first time, I have been facing this kind of a situation and may close it down (the centre) after a week if the situation does not improve on the liquidity front," he said.
This year families are not coming as they are facing cash crunch due to restrictions on withdrawal from bank accounts, said Patel.
"People carry credit or debit cards but we do not have facility of POS machines where such cards can be swiped. I can not afford to have this digital facility for cash transactions as I do not have current account facility in the bank as our business is a seasonal one," he said.
Customers coming with cash too have their limitations after scrapping of old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, said Patel.
To attract customers, Ponk centre owners who have set up shops at Thuvavi village in the district on the highway have brought down the prices from Rs 500 to less than Rs 400 per kg this year, said Siddique Mansuri, owner of a Ponk centre here.
"Relishing crunchy Ponk has become a thing of the past this time because of acute shortage of cash," Dr Upendra Vaidya, a 78-year-old consulting physician, said.
"Fresh Ponk is good for health as it contains vitamin B-complex and other minerals," said Vaidya.