Cash Crunch, Shortage Rumours Send Salt Soaring to Rs 400/kg in UP
People throng a grocery store in Lucknow to buy salt late on Friday. (Photo: Akhilesh Rastogi) (Representative Image)
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.
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.
Salt shortage rumours trigger panic buying sprees in Western UP; some stores selling salt at Rs200/Kg pic.twitter.com/j33Si0ii2V— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 11, 2016
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 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.
Allahabad: Panic among people after rumours of salt shortage in UP, authorities say there is no shortage pic.twitter.com/z6XqOuXHsq— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 11, 2016
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.
कुछ लोग ग़लत अफ़वाह फैला रहे हैं कि नमक और चीनी की कमी हो गयी है। ये सरासर ग़लत है। अगर कोई जमाख़ोरी करेगा तो बक्शा नहीं जाएगा।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 11, 2016
Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, too, said there was no shortage.
No shortage of salt, prices are the same. State Govts need to take action on those who spread rumours: Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan pic.twitter.com/v35TX3mctW— ANI (@ANI_news) November 11, 2016
The Department of Consumer Affairs, too, said there was no “disruption in production of salt, its supply and distribution.”
देश में नमक की कोई कमी नहीं है और ना ही मूल्य वृद्धी हुई है। आमजन से अपील है कि ऐसी अफ़वाहों पर ध्यान न दे।— Ram Vilas Paswan (@irvpaswan) November 11, 2016
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.”
यदि कोई नमक के मूल्य वृद्धी की अफ़वाह फैलाता है या मूल्य से अधिक बेचता है तो राज्य सरकारों को उनके ख़िलाफ़ त्तकाल सख़्त कार्यवाही करनी चाहिए— Ram Vilas Paswan (@irvpaswan) November 11, 2016
“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.”