JORHAT, March 24 - A heavy rush of people flocking to the markets in a panic mode to buy essentials was witnessed during the day from early morning today in view of the lockdown in Jorhat town and throughout the district at 6 pm.
Prices of essential items like vegetables, onions, potatoes and other grocery commodities saw a sharp rise from the rates that were on Saturday.
The rush forced the people not to maintain social distancing as advised by the Government time and again in order to prevent transmission of Covid-19.
Vegetable markets, grocery shops and vendors, pharmacies were swarmed by people and streets were congested with vehicular traffic and pedestrians. In few pharmacies and grocery shops, people were seen standing in long queues. People also forming queues in front of the ATMs.
In the afternoon, the Jorhat district administration evacuated the roadside vegetable vendors and also closed grocery shops where there were heavy rush.
There were incidents of student organizations visiting wholesale markets selling essential commodities and questioning a few traders about the hike following which officials of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs arrived and intervened.
A meeting between AASU, AJYCP leaders and Upper Assam Chamber of Commerce office-bearers was held in the presence of Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs department where the trader body�s representatives reportedly stated that there were sufficient stocks of essential goods and there should not be any major rise.
The student bodies have also urged the district administration to take stern action against unscrupulous traders and businessmen trying to take advantage of the situation.
Meanwhile, policemen in the district were strictly enforcing lockdown as the clock struck 6 pm by making announcements through loudspeakers fitted to the vehicles and blowing sirens. There were also reports of police caning people found on the streets.
A sense of fear is gripping the general public as how to go out for purchasing medicines and essential goods during the lockdown period which the Government has hinted at extending beyond March 31. If police do not listen and straightaway start beating people, what will happen, they feel.