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Cash Crunch, Shortage Rumours Send Salt Soaring to Rs 400/kg in UP

Rumours of “acute shortage” of cooking salt sent prices of the kitchen commodity soaring to Rs 400 per kg in some areas of Uttar Pradesh as people already spooked by the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes made a mad dash for local stores.

Pranshu Mishra | CNN-News18

Updated:November 11, 2016, 11:28 PM IST
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Lucknow: Rumours of “acute shortage” of cooking salt sent prices of the kitchen commodity soaring to Rs 400 per kg in some areas of Uttar Pradesh as people already spooked by the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes made a mad dash for local stores.

Long queues were seen outside wholesale shops in state capital Lucknow and areas of the National Capital Region, forcing the administration to order early closing of shops. The government also assured people that there was no shortage of salt.

Rumours of supply shortage started in the afternoon and spread like wild fire. By evening, shops in some areas were selling one kg of salt for as much as Rs 400. The administration had deploy police teams to manage the increasing crowd on the streets.

People queue up outside a shop in Uttar Pradesh to buy salt later on Friday. (Photo: Akhilesh Rastogi)
People queue up outside a shop in Lucknow to buy salt late on Friday. (Photo: Akhilesh Rastogi)

Apart from Lucknow, panic also set in Kanpur, Etah, Lakhimpur, Sitapur, Mirzapur and Fatehpur towns of eastern Uttar Pradesh. In Lucknow district, magistrate Satyendra singh assured there was no shortage of the essential commodity. “Strict action will be taken against those spreading rumours,” he said.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav instructed the principal secretary of food and civil supplies to ensure adequate and smooth supply of salt across districts. He also ordered strict action against black marketeers and rumour-mongers.

As the panic seemed to enter the national Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, denied shortage of salt.

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, too, said there was no shortage.

The Department of Consumer Affairs, too, said there was no “disruption in production of salt, its supply and distribution.”

A statement issued by the department said: “The Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, have been informed about the rumoured increase in the prices of salt in some parts of the country. The Department monitors the prices of 22 Essential Commodities on daily basis. As per the prices reported by centres from across the country, there has been no increase in price of salt whatsoever. There has been no report about any disruption in production of salt, its supply and distribution.”

“The total production of salt in India, on an average, is about 220 lakh tonnes. Of this, only around 60 lakh tonnes is used for domestic consumption. The remaining quantity is for industrial use and exports. Thus, there is sufficient manoeuvrability to meet any unexpected localised shortage, if any. No cause for Panic thus.”

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