As Delhi enters week two of the lockdown, several medical and general stores are running low on female hygiene products, such as sanitary pads, as well as diapers due to issues in production and transportation. Shopkeepers complained that stocks are limited as units that produce pads and diapers were shut. Several stores have also contacted wholesalers to replenish stock.
Last week, the central government issued guidelines and listed “essential” items that were to be exempted from the lockdown. Items like sanitary pads, tissue paper, diapers and soap weren’t on the list. This lead to immediate closure of units that make these products, and suspension of transport of these goods. Though the Centre revised the order on March 29, adding these products to the “essential” list, supply continues to run low.
The order, signed by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, states, “I would like to clarify that with the issue of first addendum, transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, have been allowed.” The list includes hand wash, soap, disinfectant, body wash, shampoo, sanitary pads, diapers etc.
A few shopkeepers said they have completely run out of stock. Rajkumar, owner of Sharma Medical store in Uday Park, said wholesalers have not given him pads and diapers for over 12 days.
“We don’t know what to do… customers need these products. To save stock, I instructed my employees to not give more than one pack to a customer. But I have run out of pads. I was told that officials are now letting these units run but their transport is still not permitted. They should fix this issue because everyone is blaming us.”
In Outer Delhi, shops said they have now contacted other wholesalers. In Noida, medical stores have run of stock, causing panic among residents.
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