TURA: The district administration in West Garo Hills has issued a stern warning with threat of action against those traders and shops hoarding and selling at steep prices face masks and hand sanitizers to the general public at a time of the COVID-19 Corona Virus outbreak in the country.
Ever since the first cases of the Corona virus were detected in the country, there has been a mad rush to purchase face masks and hand sanitizers across the region resulting in complete sellout of the products.
A simple one layer single use surgical mask that use to have a market price of just ten rupees has been going for as high as a hundred rupees causing it to disappear fast from the shelves of medical stores.
Despite doctors time and again reiterating that masks do not offer sufficient protection from CoVID-19 and normal healthy persons should not use them, there has been a huge demand for the same encouraging hoarders to reap its benefits.
People in Tura and other towns have been putting up frantic searches to get their hands on good quality face masks and sanitizers, without success for over a week now.
Pharmacy owners complain that the problem of shortfall and shortage of these two items lies with the wholesale distributors in Guwahati who are unable to dispatch the goods citing high demand everywhere.
Taking advantage of the situation, some traders have been accused of selling the items at extreme high prices claiming a shortfall.
With the government of India notifying the 2 ply, 3 ply and N95 masks along with hand sanitizers as essential commodities under the Essential Commodities Act the district administration has decided to clamp down on hoarders and issued a notice warning of action.
“It has been reported that masks and hand sanitizers are either not available in the market or are available with great difficulty at exorbitant prices, the vendors or suppliers are directed not to take advantage of the situation and offenders shall have to pay a penalty of Rs 25,000 per person which may extend to Rs 50,000 and one year in jail for repeated offenders,” warned the deputy commissioner in the order announced on Monday afternoon.
The public have also been advised not to pay above the maximum retail price (MRP