After demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes made a mad dash for local stores, a rumour of “acute shortage” of cooking salt sent prices of the kitchen commodity soaring to Rs 400 per kg.
Rumours of supply shortage started in the afternoon and spread like wild fire. By evening, shops in some areas were selling one kg of salt for as much as Rs 400. The administration had deploy police teams to manage the increasing crowd on the streets in Lucknow.
“We monitor the prices of 22 essential commodities on daily basis. As per the prices reported by centres from across the country, there has been no increase in price of salt whatsoever,” the department of consumer affairs said in a statement.
The government’s clarification came after reports of panic buying of salt in several parts of country amid rumours of shortage.
The department of consumer affairs clarified that there is enough salt to meet any unexpected shortage, if any.
“The total production of salt in India, on an average, is about 220 lakh tonnes. Of this, only around 60 lakh tonnes is used for domestic consumption. The remaining quantity is for industrial use and exports. Thus, there is sufficient manoeuvrability to meet any unexpected localised shortage, if any,” the department said.
There have also been reports of panic buying in several states including some regions of the NCR (National Capital Region). While the initial reports of panic buying came from western Uttar Pradesh, the panic soon spread to other states.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav instructed the principal secretary of food and civil supplies to ensure adequate and smooth supply of salt across districts. He also ordered strict action against black marketeers and rumour-mongers.
As the panic seemed to enter the national Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, too, denied shortage of salt. Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, too, said there was no shortage.