Rumours of shortage of salt supply in Uttar Pradesh created panic among tricity residents on Friday, with many thronging to shops to buy the commodity in bulk.
Shopkeepers in various parts of city reported bulk buying of salt by customers. There were reports of overcharging, especially in localities such as Bapudham Colony and Manimajra. There were also reports of similar incidents from SAS Nagar and Panchkula. Though it could not be independently confirmed, rumours were on the rife that salt was being sold between Rs 40 to Rs 100 per kg in some markets.
Market committee members too admitted that the prices might have gone up by Rs 2-10 in some parts due to panic and bulk buying. Naresh Gupta, a wholesaler in the Sector-26 mandi, said the panic started in the evening when customers started pouring in placing bulk orders. “Neither the supply was short nor the prices have gone up. It was a misdeed of some unscrupulous elements. The wholesale supply rate today was Rs 17-18 per kg in the market,” he said.
Chandigarh Beopar Mandal chairman Chiranjeev Singh said that there was no shortage of salt supply. “After these rumours, I checked with wholesalers and there is no shortage. People should not panic,” he said.
Chandigarh deputy commissioner (DC) Ajit Balaji Joshi said he had received reports from various parts of city and there was no shortage of salt supply. “If any person wants to complain about overcharging or those who are spreading these rumours, he or she can contact on toll free number. We will take strict action.” The two helpline numbers where residents can complain are 18601802067 and 18001802079.
Salt sold at higher price in Panchkula
Residents in Panchkula resorted to bulk buying of salt packets. The Tata Salt which is priced at Rs 16 per kg was being sold over Rs 20 while Patanjali’s salt which is priced at Rs 12 was sold for around Rs 15. A departmental store owner in Sector 19 said their stock of salt got finished and he rushed to his wholesale dealer in Zirakpur who also reported of being out of stock.
Panchkula DC Garima Mittal said, “People should stop spreading rumours. There is no such issue of salt shortage. The police are checking who is spreading these rumours.”