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Odisha traders engage in price manipulation, black marketing during COVID-19 lockdown

Odisha unit BJP secretary Dhiren Senapati appealed residents to avoid hoarding of essential goods.

Published: 26th March 2020 10:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2020 10:28 AM   |  A+A-

People wait in a market at Rourkela to buy vegetables on Wednesday

People wait in a market at Rourkela to buy vegetables on Wednesday I Express

By Express News Service

ROURKELA: In the aftermath of COVID-19 lockdown of the Rourkela city since Sunday and subsequent declaration of nationwide lockdown, panic buying by residents has led to price hike of essential commodities, sending the Sundargarh administration into a tizzy.

Minutes after the Prime Minister announced lockdown on Tuesday, locals thronged grocery stores and vegetable vending joints to stock up on essentials.

By 9.30 pm, bread vanished from all bakery units in the city. Such was the crowd that police had to step in to close shops and disperse the crowd as people violated social distancing norm.

Considering the demand, traders hiked prices of vegetables and pulses.

To counter the situation, Rourkela ADM Aboli Sunil Naravane convened a meeting on Tuesday evening with Additional Civil Supplies Officer and traders to stop price manipulation and black marketing.

Accordingly, the administration fixed per kg retail prices of Arhar, Moong, Masor, Chana Dal and Biri at Rs 94, Rs 104, Rs 71 and Rs 98 respectively, while retail price of onion was fixed at Rs 30 and potato at Rs 27.  

The price regulation, however, did not deter traders from fleecing buyers. On Wednesday, potato was selling for Rs 30 to 40 per kg and onions sold at Rs 35. Pulses were also selling for a difference of Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kg against the prescribed prices. In the evening, the ADM raided Traffic Gate market and fined two retailers for Rs 5,000 each for selling onion and potato at higher prices. She said essential commodities are adequately available, but panic buying is allowing unscrupulous retailers to take advantage of the situation. She appealed residents not to panic and assured that essential commodities would be available at fair price throughout the lockdown period.

Odisha unit BJP secretary Dhiren Senapati appealed residents to avoid hoarding of essential goods.
Meanwhile, as a regulatory mechanism retailers were allowed to buy one quintal potato each at Plant Site wholesale point on Wednesday.

PRICE PINCH

  • Admin fixes potato price at Rs 27 per kg, traders sell it at Rs 40
  • Onions sell at Rs 35 per kg against Rs 30 fixed by admin
  • Pulses were also selling for a difference of Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kg against the prescribed prices
  • 2 traders fined Rs 5000 each for fleecing buyers
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