note demonetisation

In one Chennai market, demonetisation has forced tonnes of flowers to be dumped

The vendors of Koyambedu market have been severely hurt by the decision invalidating high-value currency notes.

At 3 pm on a Sunday afternoon, K Paneerselvam sat on a stone platform at Chennai’s Koyambedu market amidst a heap of unsold flowers that were slowly beginning to wear a rather wilted look. At regular intervals, he sprinkled water on yellow marigolds and pink chrysanthemums as their petals turned brown.

But with barely any customers coming his way, he knew that he would have to throw away mounds of already-perishing flowers by the next morning.

Hardly a week after the central government announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would not be legal tender on November 9, the wholesale goods market in this area of Chennai has seen a drastic fall in sales, especially in flowers. The cash squeeze caused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Tuesday has made it very difficult for flower sellers to provide change for higher denomination notes, losing customers in the process. As a result, the dustbin in the market compound is filled to the brim with wilted flowers. There are also piles of cast-away flowers in piles by the footpath.

Nearly 360 tonnes of wilted flowers – roses, lilies, asters and jasmine, among them – were dumped in Koyambedu in the past week, reported The Times of India.
Tonnes of flowers going to waste.
Tonnes of flowers going to waste.

Plummeting prices

“Last week, I was selling one kilogram of marigold for Rs 60,” said Paneerselvam, whose business has shrunk by 75% since Wednesday. “Now people hardly have money in hand. So I am ready to sell it at Rs. 10 per kilogram, just to earn something by the day’s end.”

Some of the flower sellers were even accepting the demonetised currency notes. S Ravichandran, the owner of a garland shop in the market place, said that if he did not accept the old notes, he would have absolutely no sales.

“If you sit by my shop for one hour, you will see the number of people who hand us the old notes of Rs 500s and Rs 1,000,” said Ravichandran. “And they don’t want us to give back change in the old notes.”

Ravichandran is still accepting old notes.
Ravichandran is still accepting old notes.

Garlands that are usually sold for the price of Rs 500 have now been slashed down to Rs 200, he said. Besides, Ravichandran’s customers were offering the new Rs 2000 notes for garlands valued at Rs 200. Providing change for a note of this large denomination was proving to be a big hassle, especially when customers were demanding change only in Rs 100 notes.

“I also have to give my shop attendants their daily wage,” said Ravichandran. “But on days when we don’t get to many customers, I need to either put a temporary hold on the flowers that I have ordered, or a hold on the wages of my employees.”

The Koyambedu flower market.
The Koyambedu flower market.

Mounds of waste

In the backyard of the market place, K Murugan and P Dasarathan sat under a small makeshift tent with about a dozen baskets, each with 40 kilograms of marigolds. These flowers had arrived from Bangalore at 3 am but had remained unsold all day.

“If we cannot sell them by tomorrow morning, we will have to dump all of them,” said Murugan. “We will also have to bear the cost of all of these flowers.”

Like many of the wholesale flower vendors in the Koyambedu market, Murugan and Dasarathan pay a deposit of around Rs one lakh to the farmers every season, and receive 10% of whatever sales they have made every day as commission. The rest of the money is paid to the farmers.

But now with the cash squeeze, most of their flowers lie unsold.

“We are accepting old notes only from our regular customers,” said Dasarathan. “If we take old notes from others and give them change, then we have none to give our regular customers. They may not come to our shop tomorrow.”

Dasarathan's unsold flowers.
Dasarathan's unsold flowers.

CK Muthuraman, another flower shop owner, is worried about how he will pay his next installment of Rs one lakh to the farmers who provide him goods – since it will not be easy to withdraw such a large amount of cash from the bank in the next one month.

“It is with this advance money that the farmers buy seeds and pay their labourers,” said Muthuraman. ” Now how can I give the money to them? How will the labourers get money?”

But Muthuraman had more immediate problems. Scores of packets of wilting flower petals were stacked up in his shop, with no buyers.

As his assistants stared at these packets gloomily, one of them lightened up suddenly and laughed, “We should now send all these flowers to Modi. Let him have them.”

Muthuraman's unsold packets of flower petals.
Muthuraman's unsold packets of flower petals.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.