Supermarkets to remain open

The government’s week-long closure of malls, theatres, etc. in view of COVID-19 scare has resulted in cases of people hoarding kitchen staples. The city’s civic body and the police shut down many supermarkets on Saturday, triggering panic.

The few retail shops that remained open saw huge crowds on Sunday morning and in some cases, stocks of a few items ran out. It was afternoon before the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike woke up to the situation.

Pravir Bagrodia, a resident of Whitefield, said most of the supermarkets in the area were closed on Saturday and Sunday morning. “A few of them that were open had huge crowds. But BBMP officials came and shut them down as well. This triggered fears that there won’t be shops for the next one week. Many of us were buying large quantities of supplies, more than usual,” he said.

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar ordered officials to not shut down supermarkets, following which many of the shops opened. Civic officials had earlier decided to shut down supermarkets as they are air-conditioned and attract large crowds. “But we have observed this created panic and could also lead to artificial shortage of groceries. So I directed officials to open up all supermarkets,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.

Raju S., who runs a retail grocery store at Vidyaranyapura, said his shop saw huge crowds on Saturday and Sunday and he had run out of stock of staples such as rice and a toor. “People who used to buy a kilogram of daal are now buying more than that. Everyone fears the shutdown may extend beyond a week and there will be shortage of supplies. But this has created an artificial scarcity already,” he said.

A similar trend was observed on online grocery portals as well. Closure of supermarkets seems to have driven more customers to online portals, causing a shortage there as well. “For two consecutive days, staples such as rice, toor, urad dal, rava, and jaggery were out of stock on a popular online grocery chain,” said Chaitra R.

Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, chairman, APMC Committee, FKCCI, said that though a few retail stores may have run out of stock owing to hoarding by customers, there was no shortage in the wholesale market as there was enough supplies of all foodgrains, pulses, sugar, and other commodities for at least the next month.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 2:46:16 PM |

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