Coronavirus: People across North venture out amid curfew, indulge in panic-buying

Hoarding of supplies in Solan, vegetable prices shoot up in Patiala

Coronavirus: People across North venture out amid curfew, indulge in panic-buying

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 26

On the second day of the nation-wide curfew, people across Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana continued to venture outside to purchase essential itemsseveral of them panic-buying and stocking-up supplies.

India on Tuesday had declared a lockdown as a major enforcement exercise to make people stay at home and prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus as the country enters a decisive stage to combat the global pandemic.

People came out in large numbers to buy vegetables, fruits and items of daily needs in Shimla. Despite assurances by the district administration that the curfew would be relaxed on Friday as well, a large number of people thronged the markets.

People gathered at a market near the old bus stand in Shimla on Thursday. Photo:Amit Kanwar

People defied social-distancing norms as they stepped out to buy vegatables, medicines and fruits in various parts of Solan district. Vehicles moved about freely on roads even though they were not allowed to ply. People congregated on the roads instead of going home after buying the necessary articles. A large number of people were seen outside ration shops in Dharampur, Solan, Kasauli and other towns where no system has been created to ensure social-distancing.

Panic-struck people were hoarding essential items and buying large quantities of wheat flour, rice, vegatable and pulses. Traders were unable to cater to the demand and they advised people to purchase lesser quantities.

Migrant labourers could also be seen holding discussions in groups.

People line-up at a market in Shimla. Tribune photo. 

In Patiala, residents thronged markets early in the morning. At the Rajpura vegetable market, hundreds of people were seen purchasing vegetables. Residents were resorting to panic-buying in the city.

Vendors sold vegetables from vehicles parked along the road in many localities including the Arya Samaj area and Sanauri gate.

Potato, otherwise available at Rs 20 per kg, was being sold at Rs 50 per kg, a bunch of coriander leaves, otherwise sold at a marginal rate, also fetched Rs 50. A household on the stadium road, which was selling vegetables spread across the house's lawn, at low prices, was raided by the police.

"We are selling the commodities at justified rates. People are doing sewa (service) as well," the woman selling the items said.

People ventured out even though Deputy Commissioner Kumar Amit on Wednesday released a list of grocery and chemist shops that were going to provide door-to-door delivery.

However, residents claimed that things were in disarray and supply of essential items in the last 24 hours was not sufficient.

A vegetable market in Panipat witnessed huge rush on Thursday and people openly flouted social-distancing norms.

A vegetable market in Panipat.

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