Chandigarh, March 19 (IANS) Even as government officials have appealed for no panic buying in the wake of coronavirus scare, residents of union territory of Chandigarh and neighbouring Punjab are busy buying grocery in bulk due to fear of shortage of food and other essential commodities, traders said on Thursday.
The fear of a lockdown is driving people to throng supermarkets and stores to buy essential items in bulk.
Government officials insist there is no need to panic and people shouldn't worry as no move is afoot to shut grocery and chemist shops even in an extremely grim situation.
Huge rush was seen in Chandigarh's Sector 26 grain market and other shopping areas.
“It seems people are hoarding goods in panic. In fact, they are terrified and they're uncertain about the future as coronavirus cases across the country are increasing,” a shopkeeper in Sector 26 market, which has many wholesale provision stores, told IANS.
He admitted shortages in commodities was only due to unexpected surge in demand.
“We are advising people not to panic, but they don't agree. If someone needs five litres of cooking oil in a month, he or she is buying 20 to 25 litres in advance,” he said.
Another shopkeeper warned that “if such a scenario continues, there can be artificial shortage of eatables in the near future”.
The traders blamed social media for rumours on the issue. A rumour doing the rounds on Wednesday was that the Chandigarh administration is “spraying a medicine in the air to kill coronavirus”. Late in the evening, the administration clarified that the message is fake and people were advised not to circulate such messages.
Likewise, a message was in circulation on Wednesday that Chandigarh's main vegetable market in Sector 26 is going to close for 10 days from March 21.