Millennium Post (Kolkata)

‘Ensure availabili­ty of essentials, stop panic buying by people’

Concerns have been raised about availabili­ty of essential commoditie­s, says Nidhi Khare, additional Secy in Union Consumer Affairs Ministry

- OUR CORRESPOND­ENT

NEW DELHI: Amid concerns over availabili­ty of essential items in view of rising COVID19 cases, the Centre on Thursday directed state government­s to take steps to stop panic buying by people and ensure there is no hike in prices of key supplies.

In a letter written to state government­s, Additional Secretary in Union Consumer Affairs Ministry Nidhi Khare said due to sudden spike in COVID-19 cases, concerns have been raised about "availabili­ty of essential commoditie­s to the common man at fair prices."

To maintain smooth supplies, the states have been asked to keep operations of grocery stores/warehouses and chemist shops outside the restrictio­ns under Section 144.

"It should also be ensured that the prices of all essential supplies are not increased and they are at fair prices, unless necessitat­ed by cost enhancemen­t due to raw material costs and exchange rates fluctuatio­ns," she said.

States have been asked to undertake awareness activity and sensitise public at large to address their concerns so as to "mitigate panic buying" of essential supplies, she added.

That apart, states have been asked to set up joint teams of food and civil supplies, legal metrology, food safety, health and policy at state/district level for effective surveillan­ce and enforcemen­t in order to avoid demand-supply mismatch, hoarding and exorbitant pricing of essential supplies.

States have also been directed to set up helplines for consumers to enable them to register complaints for redressal by the public authoritie­s on issue of maintainin­g essential supplies.

The states have been asked to review the situation and take appropriat­e action based on exigencies.

India added a record over 2 lakh new COVID-19 infections in a day pushing the total tally of cases to 1,40,74,564, while the active cases surpassed the 14-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

The states have been asked to review the situation and take appropriat­e action based on exigencies

 ?? PTI ?? A farmer piles up wheat grain, in Bathinda, on Thursday
PTI A farmer piles up wheat grain, in Bathinda, on Thursday

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