Mumbai, lockdown is for safety against coronavirus, not to shopUpdated: Mar 25, 2020 00:20 IST
Multiple warnings, checks, reminders and even a curfew order notwithstanding, panicking Mumbaiites and Thane residents were seen crowding the markets to stock up on essential commodities through the day and later at night after PM Narendra Modi’s address extending the lockdown for 21 days.
State food and civil supplies minister Chhagan Bhujbal, however, said there was no reason to panic. Meanwhile, the Kalwa police filed a non-cognisable offence against two milk vendors for violation of section 144 and obstructing city streets. Irked, vendors have now threatened to stop distribution if they are not issued I cards and police continue taking such action.
Amid the panic buying late in the evening, health minister Rajesh Tope said: “The only change is the lockdown in the state has been increased to April 15 from March 31.” Mumbai police spokesperson DCP Pranay Ashok said, “Citizens need not panic and rush to shops now. All are requested to note that the lockdown will not affect any essential commodities or services like food, groceries, medicine and medical equipment etc. The essential services and the establishments of essential commodities will remain open.” “I had stored essentials for a week but when I heard of 21 days, I didn’t want to take a risk,” said Parel resident Pinky Parikh. “I am buying more stuff as there is no guarantee that the supplies will be regular,” said Sejal Shah, at Dadar market. Sharmila Potnis, a Kurla resident, said: “I want to stock some items.”
Chirag Gala, a shop owner from Ghatkopar, said people were buying products that they might not even need. “Some even stocked up on champagne, beer and soft drinks. We have shut our shop, because we have exhausted our stock.” Hingwala market at Ghatkopar got 1000 buyers. “The police had to lathicharge to clear the crowd,” said Amit Gupta, a vegetable vendor from the market. Bhujbal said: “We have a stock of six months and the supplies will be regular. There is no need to hoard.” A homemaker from the area, who had stepped out to buy vegetables said, “I got scared seeing the crowds and returned empty handed.”