Covid-19 outbreak: Residents fume as prices of food commodities rise

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Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 26

Though the district administration provided a channel for delivery of commodities to all households in the city on Thursday, residents complained of low availability of food items and a steep rise in prices of commodities.

Residents of the area surrounding Chhoti Nadi and Bari Nadi, where many families of daily wagers and migrant labourers reside, remained affected. The administrative officials said they were being contacted by various NGOs and the issues will be resolved soon.

The residents complained that the list of grocery and vegetable vendors issued by the district administration featured only one contact number for each retail shop. “This is making it difficult for us to contact them. Apart from this, only a few sellers have been provided the passes in some wards, including two stores in ward 39, 3 in ward 57, 3 in ward 36 among others making it difficult for residents to contact the store owners. They should gradually increase the suppliers”, one said.

Complaining about the steep rise in prices, a resident of Baba Veer Singh Dheer Singh Colony said, “A particular vendor in the area who is politically associated is providing the commodities at steep prices. The situation is becoming a major issue for all residents. He said the vendor sold wheat flour at Rs 300 per 10 kg and onion at Rs 50 per kg.

Another from the same area complained, “There are many daily wagers in the area and others who do not have enough supplies. They are suffering due to scarce supply of groceries. The district administration should monitor the situation in our area on its own.”

Residents raised complaints that the low supply resulted in their orders not being delivered by the vendors. A resident of ward 44 said, “I have tried to contact all the suppliers in the area. All the contact numbers are either busy or unavailable.

Silver lining: Sooraj Singh, a resident of Gopal Colony when contacted said, “Earlier a few retailers were providing the commodities at steep prices. So we counselled them to lower the rates on humanitarian grounds. We have now started ensuring that people help each other and those who do not have food to eat.”

Officials of the district administration said the situation in the slum areas was being monitored. “The police and administration officials have started supplying the commodities in slum colonies and to the needy. A number of NGOs have also contacted us to permit them to supply groceries”, they said.

Deputy Commissioner’s office in the evening limited the supplies for one family and said, “We will limit the quantity of ration per person, to ensure ,that the supply reaches all citizens.” The office directed the grocery sellers to provide a maximum of 10-kg wheat for a family of five, with two kg pulses, 200-gram spices and other products accordingly.”