A number of outlets in the city on Saturday turned away customers looking for salt citing lack of supply even as the Delhi government assured residents that there was no scarcity.
In East Delhi’s Kondli market, there were at least three shops that had stopped selling the kitchen essential on Saturday.
“I sent my children to buy salt last night. But they retuned empty handed and told me that shopkeepers were selling it at Rs 300 per kilo. On Saturday morning when I went to check, they said there was no stock ,” said Vaidyanath, a resident of Khoda village.
Similar shortages were reported from Dwarka, after rumours of salt scarcity spread in the markets. Residents of Dwarka Sector 1 and 2 and Mahavir Enclave said smaller shops refused to sell salt to them, which led to a minor scuffle in one of the stores.
Some supermarkets even took to rationing of salt allowing only 1 kilo per buyer.
To control the situation, the Delhi government on Saturday formed several teams to check the sale of salt by shopkeepers at exorbitant prices. “There is no shortage of salt and the public should not heed such rumours,” said state food and civil supplies minister Imran Hussain, who conducted an inspection in the markets of Old Delhi and other areas.
The teams, that will comprise officials of the food and supplies and weight and measures departments, will prosecute defaulters selling salt above MRP.
Hussain, who convened an emergency meeting on Saturday morning with food and supplies commissioner and other senior officers of the department, also announced a helpline number (011 23370841) where people can complain about over-charging.
He had held a similar meeting on Friday late night as well after rumours of acute shortage of salt and shopkeepers selling it at higher prices emerged.
The Delhi Police took pro-active measures to stop people from panicking. In a series of messages sent out on social media, it urged people not to fall for any “rumour” with regard to shortage of salt or their prices going up.
“Dial 100 to inform Police Control Room in case anybody is selling #Salt or any other essential commodity at more than MRP. Say NO to rumours!!” read a tweet by deputy commissioner of police (north) Madhur Verma.
“Please share information of those selling #Salt at exorbitant prices or spreading rumours of shortage. They will surely land behind bars!!” read another tweet by Verma.