GUWAHATI, April 6 - Contrary to the claims of the State government, grocery shops are witnessing a shortage of foodstuff and other essentials, especially biscuits, suji, baby food, soaps, etc.
Various grocery shop owners in the city testified to the scarcity, attributing it to supply and transportation bottlenecks and unwise handling of the situation by the government authorities.
The shortage of foodstuff has hit the consumers hard.
�The authorities are claiming of enough food but the reality points otherwise. I have visited a number of grocery shops and malls in greater Beltola area today. None had a single packet of biscuits nor other food items such as suji. Rice and dal are there but people need other food on a daily basis,� Deepika Hazarika, a housewife, said.
The grocery store owners were unanimous that they had received very little supply of those items since the lockdown was announced. And things, they said, have been aggravated by the failure of the government authorities to streamline the supply chain.
�We cannot go out to procure goods which are supposed to be distributed by the distributors. But very few passes have been issued by the authorities to the distributors,� a grocery store owner said.
When asked, State Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury said that the situation was being assessed and the required steps would be taken. �We are monitoring the situation and steps are being taken to streamline supply,� he said.
Panic-buying and hoarding, too, had an impact on the growing scarcity of goods besides triggering a price rise. �Fresh supply has been hit with goods trucks remaining stranded. A severe dip in the migrant labourer population has also hindered distribution,� he added.
While some shops have started to sell local bakery products, that is insufficient to meet the growing demand.
The Union Home Ministry�s order dated March 24 allowed shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, and animal fodder to function. It also allowed manufacturing units of essential commodities to function and transportation of essential goods was also permitted.