States closed their borders and the progressively rising Corona patient count had fuelled a panic, triggering a 6X rise in consumerism in the country. The sudden surge is definitely credited to the Covid19 panic gripping the country.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had addressed the lockdown is merely a rumor, but the sudden surge on the demand for essential commodities suggests people do not take it for granted. On Saturday evening, an unusual crowd of people was seen shopping in Agra’s Moti Ganj, Rawat Pada, and Rajamundi. Customers arrived at the shop in Lohamandi, Maharshi Puram, Avas Vikas, and Shastri Puram all day long at 9 pm on Friday evening and built into a crowd till Saturday. Demand for everything went up.
People were carrying up to 50 bundles of things like pan masala and Gutkha(a desi essential). Until Friday night, there were crowds at vegetable shops and shops in Shah Ganj and Roi Mandi. A store located in Agra’s Officer Colony issues a 3-member membership card to its customers. There was a 50% discount for the goods on the display card, but upon seeing the crowd, the company terminated the offer and sent a message informing them. Rakesh, a supermarket staff said that due to rumors of a market shutdown due to Corona, the number of customers has increased by six times. People have been carrying goods for up to three days.
A customer Rajesh Kumar said he heard the news of the market closing. If this happens then it will be difficult to get food, so he came to buy groceries for home. Another customer Anjali said the crisis would come if the markets are closed. “There is not enough stock in the house to work from home two weeks, so it is clever to buy the goods in advance.”, she said.
In the meantime, rumors of a vegetable market being closed in Kilgunj Market in Bijnor district started to swell. Vegetable vendors have also increased the prices of vegetables. It is customary that some traders carefully ignore the rumor. On Thursday evening at 9 pm, the news became public that the decades-old vegetable market in Kellogganj market was about to close, the public would not be able to get the vegetable from the market. The crowd of buyers was amused. High demand was there for potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. Vegetarian vendors tried to seize the opportunity and received extra vegetable prices. Although some customers objected to the price of vegetables, the vendors totally tapped on the occasion and yielded an extra price for veggies.
The authorities had warned wholesalers and retailers if essential commodity prices are hiked spreading rumors.