Coronavirus scare: Kolkata Police conducts raids to prevent hoarding, price gouging of masks, sanitizers – India Today

Kolkata News

The Enforcement Branch of Kolkata Police conducted multiple raids at medical stores across the city and surrounding areas to check for hoarding of masks and sanitizers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The raids were conducted to check the quantum of masks and sanitizers being hoarded or being sold at higher prices in the market.

Recently, there have been multiple complaints about the sale of poor quality masks at a manifold price. Sanitizers, too, have been missing from markets leaving people hassled and running from one store to the other.

A local resident and make-up artist, Md. Rafique shared his ordeal and said, We have been searching for a mask since the past two hours. We went to many shops but didn’t get any. When the price of the mask is Rs 20 Rs, shops are selling it for Rs 80-100, but that’s not the issue. At least, it should be available. Authorities need to fix this as soon as possible.

Another customer, Fareed Hassan who works in the retail sector had similar concerns. He said, The sanitizers are originally priced at Rs 50 but now it is being sold for Rs 200 and yet they are not available. We need masks and sanitizers and most of the shops are saying that they don’t have stock. So the authorities must take some steps so at least local customers can have the masks.

N Naag, a patient, told India Today TV, We are facing many problems in obtaining a mask. Shopkeepers are trying to gouge prices and they are not obeying the government order or following any restrictions on the price. Common people can’t afford such a high price.”

However, the situation is not just troublesome for the customers, even shopkeepers are facing harrowing times.

Sanjeev, running a medical store near Calcutta Medical College shared, Nothing is available right now. We don’t have masks or sanitizers, we are trying to purchase but not getting the stock. Most of the sellers say they do not have the supply or will not be able to provide any bill for the supply. There is no limit to the price being asked for masks and still, there is no proper supply of the masks.

Since these two products are being considered essentials to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the West Bengal government is trying to ensure maximum availability.

The Enforcement Branch officials are not just questioning shopkeepers and customers but also ascertaining the stocks that so that not only are stocks available to all but also at affordable prices.

Special attention is being given to areas that are around medical colleges and hospital since many patients and their relatives arrive here for purchasing medical equipment including masks.

So far, no Covid-19 cases have been reported from West Bengal.