Coronavirus: Kolkata residents scramble to stock essential before lockdown
Kolkata, May 23: With Kolkata and several other areas of West Bengal going under lockdown from 5 pm on Monday till March 27 in view of the coronavirus outbreak, city residents scrambled to stock essentials but supplies have been less due to suspension of train services, officials said.
Buyers claimed there has been a 30-50 per cent jump in the prices of fishes and vegetables in the markets in and around the city with civic authorities having to warn of confiscating stocks of traders selling goods above rates fixed by the state government.
"Most of the fishes and vegetables come to Kolkata from neighbouring districts. With the Railways stopping services from Sunday, the supply line has been affected," Rabindranath Koley, member of the state government's task force on essential commodities, said.
Traders demanded that train services be resumed "only for vendors" during the lockdown, failing which supply of essentials to the city will be severely affected.
"Suburban trains are lifelines for movement of people and goods. Without them, we do not know where to procure goods from and how to take them to markets," a trader at a market in Jadavpur area in the southern part of the city said.
A resident of Dhakuria in south Kolkata said that no vegetable, fruit or fish vendor has been able to reach the area due to suspension of train services.
On the other hand, in the north Kolkata locality of Nagerbazar, local civic authorities were seen warning through loudspeakers of confiscating stocks of traders selling potatoes above Rs 20 per kilogram. Potatoes are being sold at Rs 19 per kilogram per family at 'Samabayika' cooperative society stores.
As people queued up at shopping malls, a departmental store in Diamond Plaza Mall on Jessore Road in the northern part of the city was seen allowing only 10 persons at a time to prevent mass gatherings.
"We have enough stocks but our employees are not able to commute to work," Dipankan Naskar, manager of the departmental store said.