New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) In spite of the government’s repeated requests, the general public is indulging in panic buying sprees across shops in the National Capital Region (NCR).
On Thursday, at several outlets, ranging from neighbourhood grocery stores to upmarket shops and retail chains in shopping malls, people could be seen buying up stocks to tide over possible shortages in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
In Noida’s Sector 143, people were lining up for essentials at AVR supermarket, waiting for close to two hours to complete their purchases at the cash counters. The owner told IANS that they had run out of supplies and are awaiting replenishments to fulfill the sudden surge in demand.
He added that people have to wait for hours in queue to get their bill cleared as cart size has increased drastically with people purchasing anything and everything that comes in sight.
“All of a sudden people have started to purchase commodities like poha, papad, biscuits and chips. This increase in demand is drastic,” he added.
In Dwarka too, shelves at retail chain MORE wore a bare look with customers buying bags of potatoes in quantities of 30 and 50 kgs.
While staples such as coffee and tea are being bought up in large quantities, hair shampoo is another commodity that is fast disappearing from shop shelves.
The endless wait at cash counters is getting on customers’ nerves who are grumbling at fellow shoppers who seem to be stockpiling more than is necessary.
However, the apex traders’ association has denied news of panic buying and claimed that the phenomena was visible only in big malls and supermarkets.
“People in small colonies know that the shopkeeper in their area would keep stocks for them and hence this phenomena of panic buying is restricted only to super markets,” Praveen Khandelwal of CAIT told IANS.
Contrary to Khandelwal’s claims, people in areas like Rohini, Lajpat Nagar and parts of Old Delhi experienced empty shelves even in small shops.
“I went to an ‘Atta Chakki’ to get wheat flour for my house, but the owner told me demand was so high that he could not provide the flour for at least 3 days,” Cheena Kapoor, a resident of Rohini, said.
It was evident that with coronavirus cases on the rise, and residential apartments preparing for lockdown mode, panic buying has become the norm, leading to shortages in market places.
As of Thursday morning, India reported 166 coronavirus positive cases with four fatalities. Fifteen patients have recovered so far.