Odisha lockdown: Prices of vegetables rise; officials asked to crack down on hoarders

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Bhubaneswar, May 5 (PTI) The Odisha government issued instructions to take action against hoarders following reports that prices of certain vegetables have started rising on Wednesday, the first of the 14-day statewide lockdown.

The retail price of potato in the markets of Bhubaneswar has increased from Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kg while the rate of onion was hiked by Rs 5 per kg. In view of the resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the government has imposed a state-wide lockdown which will continue till May 19.

Expressing concern over the price hike, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister RP Swain asked civil supply officers (CSOs) in all districts to check black marketing and hoarding of essential consumable items.

As there is a possibility that some traders may resort to hoarding of essential food items such as potato, onion, edible oil, pulses and wheat during the lockdown, the minister directed the CSOs to personally visit grocery shops and godowns to check if the stock of the products is within the permissible limit.

In a tweet, Swain said that the state has sufficient stock of vegetables and grocery products and urged people to refrain from panic buying.

Field level officials have been directed to visit shops every day and take action against traders found hoarding essential items, the minister said.

During the lockdown period, the government has allowed shops dealing in groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish, animal feed and fodder, and seeds and fertilisers to remain open on weekdays between 6 am and 12 noon.

However, weekly and daily 'haats' will be shut during the 14-day period. PTI COR AAM NN NN