Curfew fears trigger panic buying in Gurugram, customers empty out shelves
Grocery, vegetable and ration store owners across the city insisted that the pattern of purchase was also different, with a large number of visitors buying goods in bulk, with bills even running into five digits in some cases.Updated: Jul 16, 2020 10:01 IST
A day after Haryana health minister Anil Vij said that the state was contemplating enforcement of a curfew in four districts adjoining Delhi, workers at supermarkets, vegetable shops, kiranas, and grocery stores across the city said they witnessed a 5-10% surge in their sales on Wednesday .
Grocery, vegetable and ration store owners across the city insisted that the pattern of purchase was also different, with a large number of visitors buying goods in bulk, with bills even running into five digits in some cases.
“Usually, my stock of potatoes and onions last for 3-4 days. However, today morning there was a major demand for both the items. The overall rush too was marginally higher than usual. The stock of potatoes and onions, which can last for more than a month before going bad, disappeared within a few hours. Few of my customers said they were buying in bulk as they wanted to stock up in case the city went into another lockdown or curfew,” said Anil Yadav, a vegetable vendor in Sector 50.
Ankit Mehta, a distributor of grocery, ready-to-cook meals and spices for a private company said that there was a 5-8% surge in sales on Wednesday.
“Normally, we see a spike in sales during the first week of every month, when people just get their salaries. Hence, seeing a spike in the middle of the month is very unusual for us. Our customers informed us that there was a rumour circulating that the city may see a curfew over the weekend like some of the other states and hence, they wanted to stock up adequately,” said Mehta.
Shiv Kumar Sharma, deputy manager of a Kendriya Bhandar outlet in sector 56, said that people were purchasing in bulk on Wednesday, with bills running between Rs 4,000-5,000 and into five figures in some cases.
“A block in this locality, which has more than 400 flats, became a containment zone on Monday. Hence, the total number of visitors I had today was low. Despite this, the total business on Wednesday was almost the same. Most customers, purchased ration in large quantities that could easily last them for nearly two months. In some cases, the bills crossed Rs 10,000,” said Sharma.
At a supermarket, in a mall on Golf Course Road, such was the rush at the counter during the afternoon that people had to stand in queues for at least 10-15 minutes.
“The supermarket at South Point Mall is usually crowded. However, today, the rush was much higher than usual. People were purchasing different types of goods that have a long-shelf life and filling their trolleys to the brim. It took the cashier at the counter nearly 3-5 minutes to finish one billing,” said Shivam Bansal, a resident of DLF 5.
On Tuesday, while speaking to the media in Ambala, Vij indicated that the government was contemplating enforcing some form of restrictions, such as a curfew, in Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat, and Jhajjar— all adjoining Delhi.
Delhi is one of the worst affected states in the country having witnessed 11,69,93 cases so far, with 3,487 deaths. Vij said that the government is also considering sealing the borders with the national capital.
He said that together the four districts of Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat, and Jhajjar account for nearly 80% of the total cases in Haryana and to curb the spread of the infection “stricter curbs” may be needed. He said that a final decision on the matter will be only taken after discussions.