Policy

Take steps to stop panic buying: Centre to States on Covid-19 curbs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2021

An empty grocery store shelves amid fears coronavirus pandemic.   -  Reuters

It directs States to keep grocery stores, warehouses and chemist shops outside the restrictions under Section 144.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs on Thursday has written to all the Principal Secretaries of States and Union Territories (UT), directing them 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 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 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 wrote.

States have also been asked to undertake awareness activity and sensitise the public to address their concerns to 'mitigate panic buying' of essential supplies.

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 to avoid demand-supply mismatch, hoarding and exorbitant pricing of essential supplies.

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

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

Published on April 15, 2021

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