Rumours trigger panic buying of salt in Bihar, Bengal, Meghalaya

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Rumours trigger panic buying of salt in Bihar, Bengal, Meghalaya; prices rocket

    PATNA/KOLKATA/SHILLONG: Rumours of shortage triggered panic buying of salt in three different states in eastern India causing salt prices to rocket.

    In Bihar, panic buying of salt in different districts of the state and its capital Patna on Thursday shot salt prices through the roof following rumour about the shortage of the most essential item in the kitchen of every household.

    Though the state government denied any shortage, shopkeepers had a field day and sold salt from Rs 60 to Rs 150 per kg.

    Food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak blamed the BJP for spreading the rumour. BJP spokesman Suresh Rungta, however, rebutted Rajak's allegation and said government should ensure adequate supply of the essential commodity.

    "An unsubstantiated rumour has spread in Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Samastipur and Madhubani districts about shortage of salt in the market due to reduced supply of the commodity from Gujarat, prompting the consumers to panic and buy it for Rs70 per kg at some places," Rajak said at a press conference. "Officials of the affected districts have been directed to probe the situation and crack down on the hoarders," Rajak added.

    More than six people were arrested from Bettiah, Nirmali, Supaul, Darbhanga and Madhubani for spreading the rumour. The maximum retail price of salt of different companies is between Rs 16 and Rs 20 per kg.

    Rajak said the department officers made public announcements about the availability of salt in abundance at prescribed rates and consumers stopped the panic buying.

    A supermarket on Fraser Road in Patna exhausted its stock of 800kg as people resorted to bulk buying. A departmental store owner in Patliputra Colony told TOI, "Generally I sale ten packets every day but I sold over 50 packets on Thursday after the rumour spread about its shortage."

    Surprisingly, bags of salt were left abandoned outside a few posh bungalows in Patliputra Colony.

    Rajak warned that those engaged in hoarding and black marketing of salt would be arrested under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.

    The department's principal secretary, Shishir Sinha issued instructions to all DMs and SDMs directing to raid the hoarders' premises. The government announced that four lakh bags of salt would reach Patna from Gujarat and Rajasthan in the next two days. The government also released salt stock position in different districts.

    The administration swung into action following rumours of salt shortage in Samastipur, Sitamarhi, Katihar, Purnia, East Champaran, West Champaran, Supaul, Madhepura and Madhubani districts.

    Supaul DM LP Chauhan told TOI over phone that there was no shortage of salt in the urban areas, but reports of black marketing were pouring in from the rural areas.

    Kisun ji, a salt retailer at Mina Bazar in Motihari, said salt is available in the market but people are buying to stock it.

    "People are being informed about the rumour. Stern action will be taken against rumourmongers," Madhepura DM Gopal Meena said.

    Purnia SDO Raj Kumar rubbished such rumours and denied any shortage of salt.

    A flurry of phone calls around 4pm on Thursday resulted in a melee in the Bettiah market and salt price zoomed to Rs100/kg. West Champaran DM's OSD, Manoj Kumar, said police stations have been alerted.

    People in Begusarai woke up amidst rumours of salt crisis and there was a mad rush to buy it a premium. Begusarai DM Manoj Kumar said there was no shortage of salt in the district. However, a team of officials led by Begusarai SDM S P Mishra swung into action and warned the wholesale dealers not to charge extra. However, people were spotted carrying a bag containing 25 packets of salt to avoid impending crisis.

    People rushed to the nearest shops in Samastipur town and villages for panic buying of salt. Vijay Sah of Pethiagachi Road area in Samastipur said he bought two sacks of salt for at least nine months. The district president of Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), Surendra Prasad Singh, led a group of youths and staged a protest march in the town demanding action against the rumourmongers.

    The district administration also made announcement on public address system that hoarders would be punished.

    Bengal govt warns hoarders

    In West Bengal, panic buying of salt over rumours that it would disappear from markets led to the price hitting Rs 100 per kg in Darjeeling, as the state government assured the people that there was no shortage on Friday and hoarders would be punished.

    Reports of panic buying of salt were received from Darjeeling, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Cooch Behar and Jalpaiguri districts in north Bengal.

    "There is no shortage of salt in the districts as per the district administration and the food and supply department," an official statement said here.

    It advised people not to pay heed to rumours by "mischievous people for undue profit" and said that Police have been instructed to take action against those spreading rumours and hoarding salt.

    North Bengal development minister Goutam Deb said in Siliguri that there was stock of two lakh quintals of salt in the north Bengal town which was sufficient.

    "Some political parties with help from unscrupulous traders have created this situation," he alleged.

    A monitoring office will start functioning from today till January 1 next year where people could make complaints over price rise of essential commodities, Deb said.

    Siliguri merchant association president Om Prakash Agarwal demanded strong action against unscrupulous traders. MORE COR PKC KK PC SCH

    Meghalaya launches crackdown against retailers

    Rumours of salt shortages hit Meghalaya too with panic stricken people buying salt at exorbitant prices which forced the state government on Friday to launch an immediate crackdown and announce that there is enough stock of salt in the state.

    "There is an unfounded rumour of salt shortages in the state capital early this morning which immediately spread all over the state," principal secretary food civil supplies and consumer affairs PW Ingty told PTI.

    "I have cross checked with my counterparts in Assam and other states as well and confirmed that it was just a rumour," Ingty said, adding that there is enough stock of salt for the next six months in the state.

    According to the senior government official, artificial crisis was created in the state capital Shillong, Tura, Jowai and Nongstoin and district deputy commissioners were directed to take stock of the situation and give necessary public announcement.

    Retail outlets exhausted their supplies early on Friday as soon as the rumour of salt shortages spread. In Shillong, there were reports of retailers trying to illegally sell salt at Rs 150 a kilogram, police said.

    A police crackdown was also launched simultaneously across the state against dealers and retailers who were trying to take advantage of the situation.

    Several people were also rounded up and detained, police said even as a full report in this regard is awaited.

    Rumours trigger panic buying of salt in Bihar, Bengal, Meghalaya; prices rocket - The Times of India
     
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  3. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    Add Jharkhand and Odisha to the list as well.
    But now the rumors have subsided.

    Interestingly we have to staff a department to spread information (PR dept.) but disinformation spreads far and wide with lightening speed that too without any cost.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The salt however is still not available.
     
  5. jmj_overlord

    jmj_overlord Regular Member

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    any ideas on how the rumours started ? anyway good sales for the shopkeepers
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I don't know about who started the rumour.

    But by the evening, when my wife went to buy some other commodities, there was no salt in the market.

    Lucky to get Catch Salt.
     
  7. Dinesh_Kumar

    Dinesh_Kumar Regular Member

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    First it was Onions, then 1000 tonnes gold, now salt...........wat next, chapati atta?

    someone is fcvking us up with basic necessities, and for me, its not "theek hai"........
     
  8. natarajan

    natarajan Senior Member Senior Member

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    diggy will blame it on modi as gujarat is the largest producer of salt blah blah etc
     
  9. aragorn

    aragorn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Someone started rumor that after seeing Modi-Niku rivalry, Modi will block all the salt coming to bihar. and people started to spread it and started to hoard Salt and it reached 300 Rs Kg :D
     
  10. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    ― Mark Twain
     
    happy, Dovah and ladder like this.

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