Bhubaneswar, Nov 11:
It started as a rumour but its effects are now very real.
Well past 9 pm on Sunday night, a rumour that salt will no longer be available in the market spread like wildfire and people thronged every kirana shop in their neighbourhood to buy salt at whatever price the shopkeepers demanded.
Reports said people at some places had to cough up Rs 60 to Rs 70 for a kg of iodised salt.
By this morning the common salt had simply vanished from all shops that sell provisions including shopping malls like Reliance Fresh and the The World. Even the stock of Catch table salt that costs Rs 15 for 100 grams was exhausted .
The Food and Civil Supplies secretary MS Padhi told reporters today that people need not go for panic buying because there is plenty of salt stock available in the state. He also said action is being taken against hoarders and unscrupulous traders.
“Such official boast is not going to satisfy anyone”, said an angry buyer at a shopping mall adding ” no one can beat the Naveen government in tall-talk.”
” It’s a complete failure of the government machinery. Why can’t they monitor the markets ? Do they expect the Met department to give them hourly predictions about market situation like they did on the weather situation before cyclone Phailin ?” said Ira Mohanty, a housewife in Pokhariput who failed to procure even 250 grams of salt.
It’s a very volatile situation and there is every possibility that public anger would boil over if the salt crisis is not resolved within 24 hours, a senior government official conceded.