Panic prevailed in various cities of Uttar Pradesh on Friday following rumours that there is an acute shortage of salt, which led to people purchasing salt at many times its original price. Taking note of the situation, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav affirmed that there is no shortage of salt in the state, and urged people not to engage in unnecessary purchase of salt. The chief minister also appealed to people not to pay heed to rumours.
A press release issued Friday also stated that the chief minister had instructed the chief secretary, principal secretary (food and civil supply) and district officials to prevent any kind of blackmarketing, hoarding or scarcity of salt. He also directed them to take strict against people involved in such illegal sales or hoarding. All district supply officers have been directed to ensure a sufficient supply of salt, the release added.
Rumours of a shortage of salt had originated in some districts of western UP on Thursday evening. Following this, rumours that salt is being sold at many times the original price spread to other parts of the state, including Lucknow, on Friday. Large groups of people gathered at stores to purchase salt, and in some districts, did so at many times its original price.
According to sources, the rumours created such panic in some districts that shopkeepers had to shut down their stores.
In Moradabad, there were reports of panicked customers flocking to market as rumours flew thick and fast that salt has gone out of shelves and shopkeepers are selling at a premium.
CO Kotwali area Poonam Mishra said police has been sent to Katra Naj from where reports of black marketing had emanated. She said complaints will be filed against some shopkeepers for allegedly triggering the rumours of salt shortage and charging premium for providing essential commodities.