Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, people across Lucknow rushed to stores selling essential commodities on Tuesday evening. Markets saw large crowds huddled at shops selling medicines, groceries, milk, and vegetables.
Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi urged people not to panic and said arrangements would be made for supply of essential commodities. “Everyone will be provided essential commodities at home. A large number of vehicles will be deployed for supply of essentials. The district administration will take care of this. People should not panic,” said Awasthi.
He also said that the government would invoke National Security Act (NSA) against those found to be indulging into black marketing of essential products.
The government also said that the lockdown would be strictly enforced. “If any lack of cooperation from public is felt in any region, then the decision to impose curfew has been left on the district level officers. If a need is felt then curfew would also be imposed,” said Awasthi.
Police also issued challans against 38,308 vehicles and collected fine of nearly Rs 83 lakh on Tuesday, the UP DGP’s office said. Police also seized 2,423 vehicles.
Police also carried out marches to ensure minimal movement of public in 17 districts.
Meanwhile, almost all areas in Lucknow, including Qaiserbagh, Lalbagh, Hazratganj, Nishatganj, Daliganj, Khadra, Wazirganj saw people buying groceries in bulk.
At a grocery shop in Nishatganj market, Ashish Singh (31), was looking for milk for his children. “All the shops I have been to have run out of milk. I don’t know if there will be arrangements for milk and other essentials from tomorrow (Wednesday). I will try to buy whatever I can tonight itself. I have been to four shops, but none have milk. I will try more shops,” says Ashish, as he sets out on his motorcycle.
Long queues of people were seen at ATMs too, with people trying to withdraw money for the next few days.
At shops in Nishatganj area, people were seen buying groceries and other perishable items in bulk. At several shops, people were seen buying kilos of grains, cooking oil and other commodities.
“If the PM had to make an announcement like this, he should have either informed us in advance or should have given detailed instructions on how essential commodities will be made available to common people over the next three weeks. He could have put a cap on how much a person can buy, but he has not, leading to panic purchases by people,” says Billu, who runs a grocery store in Nishatganj market
Vegetable vendors also saw a spike in customers, with people buying vegetables, especially onions, tomatoes and potatoes, in bulk.
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