Grocers, chemists in Chandigarh decry depleting stocks amid coronavirus curfew

Updated on Mar 31, 2020 12:56 AM IST

Wholesalers say they haven’t received enough curfew passes from UT administration for transporting stock; shortage leads to hike in rates of basic supplies like flour, pulses

Vendors selling vegetables and fruits at a makeshift market in Sector 44, Chandigarh, as a policewoman keeps vigil amid curfew on Monday.(KESHAV SINGH/HT)
Vendors selling vegetables and fruits at a makeshift market in Sector 44, Chandigarh, as a policewoman keeps vigil amid curfew on Monday.(KESHAV SINGH/HT)
Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh | ByRajanbir Singh, Chandigarh

Even as the city’s markets adjusted well to the reduced relaxation of timings, retailers of groceries and medicines are complaining of depleting stocks as their supply lines have been cut and prices have started rising.

Speaking about this, Naresh Mahajan, president of the Sector 23 market welfare association and the owner of a grocery store here, said, “All shops in Sector 23 have run out of products from Hindustan Unilever and Dettol. There are no soaps in the market and we are out of biscuits, due to which residents have to break curfew and go to other sectors to fulfil their needs.”

Nitish Singla, a retailer in Sector 48, said supplies hadn’t arrived ever since the curfew was called on Friday due to which prices of essential commodities had risen.

For instance, before curfew, wheat flour was priced at 26 per kg at retail stores, 33 after and 27-30 on Monday. Similarly, pulses (maah) were priced at 86-87 per kg, 102, and 95-98, respectively.


Proprietor of Kumar Medicos in Sector 32, Paras Kumar Goyal, said, “We have started to run low on life-saving medication like that for high blood pressure, kidney troubles and insulin for diabetics. We are somehow making do, but wholesalers do not deliver medicines to all chemists. Rather they call us to pick up deliveries and demand cash payments which isn’t fair for us.” He added that a problem can arise soon if they don’t restock.


Wholesaler of groceries in Sector 26, Tarsem Kumar Bansal, said the supplies had started coming and he had received passes from the administration as well so the groceries will reach the retailers soon. “Due to shortages, the rates of items like flour and pulses had risen last week after the curfew, but the rates will drop again,” he said.

Chairman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and nominated municipal councillor, Charanjiv Singh, said, “The issue is that wholesalers haven’t gotten enough passes for movement from the administration. Some wholesalers in Sector 26 grain market have gotten passes, but many agencies have not. Due to the curfew, the movement of trucks had also been stopped but it has been given a green signal by the Central government so it should start soon.”


After complaints of customers being fleeced kept pouring in almost daily after the curfew was imposed in the city, veggie prices came down on Sunday.

As per the chairman of the Chandigarh Residents Association Welfare Federation (CRAWFED), Hitesh Puri, veggie rates didn’t exceed the lists put up in buses.

“Almost daily, we were getting complaints of fleecing, but the situation remained normal in the city on Monday,” he said.

The wholesale mandi in Sector 26 remained closed on Monday. However, officials said that enough stock will be sold on Tuesday and rates are likely to come down in the following days.

Local area councillor of ward number 9 Gurbax Rawat took to Twitter to point out how fleecing was being done and that rate cards should be put up in all buses to stop this.

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