In the minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, during which he announced a nationwide lockdown for 21 days to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a large number of people were seen defying the lockdown already in place in the state to buy supplies for the next three weeks.
According to information shared by police, people thronged groceries and medical shops across the city to stock up supplies.
Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram urged people not to panic. “People should not panic and throng grocery stores and vegetable shops to stock up. They are open today, they will remain open tomorrow and every day. Don’t crowd these stores, medical shops or any other essential service outlets. All these will remain open,” he said.
Pune Joint Commissioner of Police also Ravindra Shisve said, “All are requested to note that we have already issued prohibitory orders for Pune. The provisions of the already existing lockdown and the one announced on Tuesday are more or less same and public should not panic. The essential services and establishments of essential commodities will remain open. Please don’t panic and rush to shops. Please cooperate with police and civic administration. The lockdown is extended till April 14. But we will ensure that essential commodities and medical facilities, and all exceptions made in the order, will be allowed with due precautions.”
But vegetable sellers from across the city were unsure if they would be able to procure fresh supplies from wholesale markets in the days to come due to travel restrictions.
“The supply of leafy vegetables to Gultekdi market has already dried up. I think we will get only onions, potato, cabbage and such for the next few days. Travelling to and from the market has become a big headache as tempo drivers are not ready to travel due to the restrictions,” said Shah Rukh Attar, a vegetable seller in Shivajinagar.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar also appealed to local residents to refrain from panic buying of groceries. He said Pune Division – comprising five districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur – has enough stock of food grains.
“We have enough stock of food grains to last for 60 days, to provide as subsidised ration through Fair Price Shops, and for 48 days through the open retail market. There is no need for families to panic,” said Mhaisekar.
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