Thiruvananthapuram

Stocks start to dwindle in shops

An empty vegetable market in Kozhikode

An empty vegetable market in Kozhikode  

Lack of delivery persons, delays at check-posts hit arrival of goods

As stricter measures come into force in the State as part of a lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19, people rushing to buy essentials such as grocery and vegetables have started experiencing stock shortage.

At a margin-free market at Poojappura, stocks are already dwindling. “Things were fine till Tuesday, but now rice and pulses are hard to come by. Distributors say they have only adequate stocks of urad dal (uzhunnu). We have essential items for a couple of days more, but after that it is going to be a problem,” says the shop owner.

In fact, he says, a few product brands have stopped arriving though orders were placed a week ago in some cases. On inquiry, they were told by the companies that they did not have people to deliver the products.

B. Vijaya Kumar, general secretary of the Grain Merchants’ Association, says stocks are arriving but delays are occurring both at inter-State check-posts and within the State despite the government’s assurances. He cites an instance of a truck from Kalady being held up at Karunagappally on the ground that it could not go to other districts. Only after more trucks started queueing up was the vehicle allowed to pass through.

There needs to be a mechanism to ensure that trucks are let through once officials are convinced that they posed no risk to public health. More such delays will create a scarcity, making things difficult for the people, he says.

Also, labourers from different parts of the district who work in the Chala market encountered a lot of problems from law-and-order personnel during their trips. The merchants’ association would meet to decide what was to be done in such a situation, he says.

At e-stores too

Depleting stocks are also plaguing e-stores. Shaman Hanif, business head of Kada.in, which is focussing only on supplying essential items these days, says they also do not have enough stocks. Kada.in gets its stock from wholesale vendors but they too are bogged down by the same problem. “We were delivering things till Saturday, but on Sunday, we started feeling the pinch.”

Despite the government’s assurances, the situation on the ground is not very encouraging, he says, adding that there is uncertainty about the situation in the days ahead. Mr. Hanif says they have elderly people among their clients, but find themselves unable to supply them essential commodities. Orders for next Monday had crossed 150, he says, adding that the size of orders too has multiplied.

‘Govt. intervention’

The Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi has demanded the State government’s intervention in ensuring the smooth transportation of essential commodities from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The traders’ organisation also urged the government to announce a financial package to enable traders to offset the losses suffered during the lockdown.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 6:36:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/stocks-start-to-dwindle-in-shops/article31157745.ece

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