[People outside a Kirana shop in Azad Nagar area of Malegaon following rumours of salt shortage on Friday November 11, 2016. (Photo: ummid.com)]
New Delhi/Mumbai: Hundreds of people in Malegaon who lined up for the whole day on Friday in queue to exchange now discontinued Rs 500/1000 currency notes are now thronging to shops to buy salt amid fear that prices may go up as the shortage could span for several days.
There have been reports of panic buying in several parts of the National Capital Region (Delhi NCR), Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Malegaon and other cities.
"Owners had downed their shutters. But panicked people are seen pleading with them to open the shop so that they can buy salt", Sultan Ahmed, a local, said while talking to ummid.com.
Even as the rumours of shortage of salt was yet to cool down, some people said oil and sugar are also going to be in shortage.
"This led to further panic", Niyaz Ahmed, a kiranawala said.
Police soon came in Gud Bazaar area of Malegaon, ordered the kiranawallahs to close down their shops and whisked away the locals from the area.
Local police are also making announcements urging people not to get panicked. Some kiranawallahs have also put up boards saying talks of salt shortage are all rumours.
A large number of people however are seen in Azad Nagar area of the city to buy salt, sugar and oil even as local leaders are pleading with them that the news of shortage are all rumours.
There were reports of prices skyrocketing to Rs 200 to Rs 400 per kg in western Uttar Pradesh. Some shopkeepers also panicked after hearing the rumours and closed their shops.
The Lucknow district magistrate Satyendra Singh, however, has discarded these rumours, assuring netizens that there is no shortage in the state.
"We will arrest the rumour mongers," the DM said.
"Kindly do not pay any attention to the rumours and help us maintain law and order," the Inspector General of Lucknow Zone appealed to people.
The Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary promised to take strict action against those spreading rumours and assured people that there was no shortage of salt.
Other officials also looked to assure people that salt wasn’t in short supply, and it wouldn’t be sold at a higher rate.
The Moradabad DM said, “These are rumours that salt will be sold at higher rates, this led to panic among people today. Salt is not going to be sold even one rupee more than its original rate, so people need not worry.”
Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Secretary Hemant Pande spoke to ANI about the rumours and said there wasn’t a shortage.
Special Commissioner Law & Order, North at Delhi Police SBK Singh also looked to dispel the rumours he said, “Just rumours. Area being patrolled extensively by Station House Officers (SHOs) to dispel rumours and inform the crowd. No shortage of salt or ration.”