Coronavirus outbreak: Essentials run thin, medicines well-stocked

Updated: Mar 26, 2020, 07:14 IST | Pallavi Smart, Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

Lack of transport and shortage of hands strangle supply lines

Pic/Ashish Raje
Pic/Ashish Raje

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a nationwide lockdown on Tuesday evening and warned people against crowding in public places, streets in Mumbai were nothing like what was expected. Shops and vegetable markets were crowded with people indulging in panic buying.

With a 21-day lockdown announced, people immediately stepped out of their homes to stock up. Shopkeepers, however, said it was exactly this kind of behaviour that was causing an issue. The state government and BMC have requested citizens to calm down and ensured a steady flow of essentials. While most complained of a shortage of packaged food items (Maggie, butter, bread etc), food grains and spices were available. Medicines and milk were other causes of concern.

A crowded vegetable market at Krantinagar on Wednesday morning. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
A crowded vegetable market at Krantinagar on Wednesday morning. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

No milk shortage in Borivli
At Kurla's Kranti Nagar, a shopkeeper had to tell the locals that he would call the police if people did not behave. In Andheri and Borivli, citizens were battling over the sudden surge in pricing.

Satyam Aruri, who runs Aarey milk stall in Borivli, said, "I was shocked when one woman picked up 10 liters of milk on Tuesday night even after telling her that there is absolutely no shortage of milk. This is a strange situation, and people are worried. But there is absolutely no shortage of milk." Aruri said.

A man carries home large packages of supplies at Kanjurmarg on Wednesday. Pic/Sameer Markande
A man carries home large packages of supplies at Kanjurmarg on Wednesday. Pic/Sameer Markande

Veggies an issue
Nanji Dedhia of A-1 Super Bazar, who is also the head of the association of shopkeepers in I C Colony of Borivli, said, "The trouble is to pick up the grocery from the local agencies. They have stopped sending their trucks so we have to arrange for vehicles and manpower to pick up the stock. On the way, we face issues with the police who are going by the books. We had discussions with the local ward office of BMC and now the issue is resolved. But these are additional efforts we have to take."

Medicines sorted
For medicines, on the other hand, there is absolutely no reason to panic, believe medical shop-owners. Nimesh Jain of Mahavir Medical store in Eksar, said, "Yesterday there was complete panic and today there is absolutely no customer. People have taken stock for months in advance. This definitely has led to some shortage in stock for a day or two but we will restock soon. Only manpower is a slight problem."

21
No. of days lockdown will last

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