Cyclone threat triggers panic buying in Odisha

Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Oct 7:

As cyclonic storm ‘Hudhud’ brewing over the Bay of Bengal expected to hit northern Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha around October 12, panicky people in Odisha are thronging shops, convenience stores and vegetable markets in a desperate attempt to stock adequate quantities of essential commodities before the storm hits the landmass.

File Pic
File Pic

While the prices of vegetables have increased by about 50% in the last 12 hours, some essential items like candles have simply vanished from the shelves of shops. Unscrupulous traders are trying to cash in on the sudden rush artificially increasing the prices of essential commodities in the process.

People have resorted to panic buying of items like grocery, vegetables, candles, match boxes, batteries and fuel.

The price of potato, which was Rs 25 this morning has shot up to Rs 30 and is expected to reach Rs 35 by Wednesday. The wholesale rate of the tuber was Rs 2100 per quintal this morning.

With the disturbing memory of cyclonic storm Phailin that had hit the state last year on October 12 still fresh in their minds, people are unwilling to take any chances. Phailin had wrecked havoc in the coastal Odisha although there was minimal causality compared to the killer 1999 Super Cyclone.

“The people have resorted to panic buying of vegetables, milk and candles in bulk quantities. Potatoes, match boxes and candles have just vanished from the market,” said Sudhakar Panda, secretary, Odisha Byabasayi Mahasangha, a traders’ association.

He said the fear of the impending cyclone had created an artificial shortage of vegetables in the state.

Food Supply and Consumer Welfare secretary Madhusudan Padhi appealed to the people not to resort to panic buying. “We can’t change the nature of people. However, we appeal to them that there is no need to be panicky as the government has enough stocks of every essential item,” said Padhi.

Padhi has directed the authorities to stock up food and relief materials at cyclone shelters for the people likely to be affected by the storm.

“We have asked the district collectors to stock up relief materials to be distributed in the affected areas. Besides, we are also planning to get adequate flattened rice and molasses from neighbouring Chhattisgarh and West Bengal to meet the eventuality,” he said.

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