GUWAHATI, March 23 - The total shutdown of business establishments during �Janata Curfew� on Sunday and due to trade bandh today triggered panic buying among the residents of Guwahati after some traders and vegetable vendors opened their shops.
The bandh was called by the Assam Chamber of Commerce (ACC) to promote social distancing. Most of the commercial establishments supported the bandh.
People were seen queuing up or gathering in front of shops to buy essential commodities.
�The purpose of the bandh was not served today as most of the people came out of their houses and resorted to panic buying. Around 50 people were waiting in front of my shop when I came to open it,� a trader at Bhetapara Chariali said.
The bandh further encouraged black marketing and triggered price rise of essential commodities. Customers were charged much higher prices for the commodities. When asked, some traders sought to attribute the higher prices to disruption in communication lines that �forced them to bear high transportation costs in alternative arrangements.�
However, some traders allegedly charged higher prices even for the old stocks.
Taking advantage of the situation, the vegetable traders and grocers hiked the prices.
However, the All India Professionals� Congress (AIPC) had called upon the ACC to call off today�s trade bandh fearing such a scenario.
�We had already warned about the today�s situation. It has created a chaotic situation here and happened only because we are taking a decision on our own. The government should have taken strict action against this kind of organisations,� said Gauravv Somani, president of the state unit of AIPC.
Most of the medical stores were open in the city. �As medicines come under essential services, our shops are open to ensure that there is no disruption in supply of medicines to the needy patients and to avoid panic among public,� the Chemists and Druggists Association of Assam said in a statement.
�We strictly oppose overcharging or hoarding at this crucial moment in the interest of the nation,� the statement added.