Dhaka city markets witnessed panic buying of essential commodities on Tuesday amid the coronavirus outbreak fears with the prices of rice going up on the markets on the day.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Tuesday urged consumers not to be panicked over the coronavirus outbreak as the stock of essential commodities remained sufficient in the country.
The minister in a press release said that there was no need to be panicked and no need to buy additional quantities of products as the stock and supply of essentials remained sufficient with stable prices in the country.
Traders said that city’s super stores and grocery stores started witnessing rush of buyers from Monday.
Most of the buyers bought essential commodities including rice, atta, pulse, edible oil, salt and sugar in large quantities and many of them also bought bottles of hand-wash and sanitisers in large quantities.
Salespersons of many of the stores said that some of the items including atta, sugar, hand-wash and sanitisers went out of stock within the first three hours of opening the shops on Tuesday.
Shoppers said that they were buying some essential items in large quantities as part of preparations for a possible lockdown in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
They also said that the prices of most of the other commodities remained stable despite the increased sales.
The prices of rice rose by Tk 2-3 a kilogram in the city markets on Tuesday.
The standard variety of BR-28 rice was selling for Tk 42-45 a kg and the fine variety at Tk 47-50 a kg in the capital on Tuesday.
The fine variety of Miniket rice was selling for Tk 55-62 a kg in the city markets on Friday.
The fine variety of Najirshail rice was retailing at Tk 58-65 a kg and its standard variety at Tk 55-56 a kg.
Md Tajul Islam Khan, head of operations of Prince Bazar Limited, said that they faced a huge crowd of shoppers in their stores in the capital for the last two days.
‘People are buying essential commodities excessively and we have been forced to go for rationing of some items,’ he said.
Tajul said that it was unprecedented that some 1,200 bags of rice had been sold out from their Mirpur outlets in the last two days.
People also bought atta, red lentil, edible oil and dry foods in large quantities due to the coronavirus outbreak fears, he added.
Zakir Hossain, a salesperson of Hazi Mizan Store at Karwan Bazar Kitchen market, told New Age that they had faced rush of buyers from Monday and the rush intensified on Tuesday.
He said that people were buying mostly rice, atta, edible oil, salt and sugar in large quantities and stockpiling the items for at least one month.
Zakir said that the stock of packed atta and hand wash ran out at his store by 1:00pm on Tuesday due to a huge crowd of shoppers.
Jesmin Akter, a private service holder, said that she came to Karwan Bazar to buy essential commodities for the next one month for her family as part of the preparations for self-isolation amid coronavirus.
‘Many countries in the world have already announced lockdowns due to the virus and we should also take steps for any possible situation,’ she said.
One of the salespersons at Mohammadpur outlet of Shwapno, a chain shop, said that some commodities including atta, salt, sugar, edible oil and hand sanitisers were sold out quickly.
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