GUWAHATI, March 20 - The fear of possible lockdown due to coronavirus has triggered panic buying in many parts of Guwahati during the past two days with people queuing up at medicine shops and grocery stores to purchase the essential supplies before �stocks are exhausted�.
Already hit by a similar situation in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Act protests three months back, people are rushing to purchase essential stuff, amid repeated warnings to follow social distancing and avoid unnecessary outings.
While some people complained of unnatural rise in the prices of essential items, prices largely remained stable today in the main markets of Guwahati like Ganeshguri, Ulubari, Beltola, Chandmari, Uzanbazar, etc.
The district administration, meanwhile, has assured people about adequate supply of grocery items, urging people to give priority to the precautionary measures.
Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) Biswajit Pegu told The Assam Tribune that the district administration is sending its teams wherever rush of people and panic buying are reported.
�This is an unprecedented situation where public discretion is required. While an urge for storing some essential supplies is natural in the present situation, there is no need to over-purchase items as the supply lines are open. Any panic or mass gathering should be avoided,� he added.
The district authorities are also in touch with the wholesale traders� bodies to take stock of the situation at regular intervals.
Meanwhile, several supermarkets and even small stores faced an unprecedented situation on Thursday evening and even this morning.
�As soon as the news of Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s address was out, people made a beeline for shops to purchase essential items since the first half of Thursday. Such was the rush that I could not even have my lunch,� Apu Saha, who owns a grocery store in Ulubari area, stated.
The stuff stockpiled by maximum purchasers included rice, pulses, beans, sugar, baby food, cooking oil, etc. Breakfast items like eggs, milk, biscuits, etc., also were in high demand, followed by other items like chocolate and noodles.
On the other hand, the social media, abuzz with messages predicting lockdown, scarcity of essentials in some other cities of the country, is adding to the mass anxiety, setting off some more rounds of over-purchasing.
�Masks and sanitisers are some items which are not usually stocked in huge quantities. So we have asked the dealers to ensure adequate supplies are continued. If unprecedented rush is noticed, people can contact the DDMA helpline to apprise the administration about the situation,� the Kamrup DC said.