Serpentine queues

Residents resort to panic buying

Frequent changes in restrictions confusing locals

Residents resort to panic buying

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 3

On the first day of the ‘mini lockdown’, the city witnessed residents thronging markets. Panic buying was seen from early morning as shoppers stood in serpentine queues outside grocery stores and sabzi mandi.

Grocery stores open at 6 am

  • Taking advantage of panic buying, most grocery opened as early as 6 am. Store owners said most customers are aware of the new timings. “As we close early at 5 pm, we are not able to cater to consumers. Staying open for 11 hours somehow helps us stagger customers. Those who come early can comfortably make purchases,” said a staffer at Metro supermarket. Likewise, D-Mart, which sees a very high footfall, has started opening at 6 am.

Apart from vendors and shopkeepers, a large number of visitors were seen without face masks. Social distancing norms also went for a toss.

Afraid of restrictions faced in 2020, locals went on buying spree through out the day while shops dealing in non-essential goods remained closed.

Suraj Kumar, a resident of Bhagat Singh Colony, who had reached Maqsudan sabzi mandi around 11 am to stock up ration, said, “The government is issuing fresh orders every day. The lockdown like restrictions forced me to purchase staple goods. I fear that the government may soon order complete lockdown, considering the surge in Covid cases.” Similarly, grocery store owners reported higher sales today and till 5 pm, most goods were sold out.

Traders unhappy

Having suffered huge losses last year, traders were unhappy with the mini lockdown. Members of The Opticians’ Association, Jalandhar, submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to include optical shops under essential items. Jasjit Singh, a member of the association, said, like mobile and motor repair shops, opticians should also be granted permission to open their stores as spectacles and vision glasses were basic necessity for students, computer professionals and those above 40 years of age.

Anil Kumar, a shopkeeper at Rainak Bazaar, said garment stores should also be allowed to open as it’s a wedding season and people come to purchase clothes and jewellery. He said all the norms were being followed by shopkeepers.

Sampling of visitors

Taking cognisance of hoarding at Maqsudan sabzi mandi (largest mandi in the region), Jalandhar Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori today ordered daily sampling of visitors at the vegetable market. Two samplings team will remain deployed at the entry and exit point of the mandi, where screening of visitors would be conducted.

“An influx of people, including sellers, buyers, commission agents and retailers, gather daily at the mandi. Later, they go to different localities and interact with people to sell their items, thus their testing is quite necessary. The sampling will happen from 5 am to 11 am daily,” said Thori.

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