Stocking and hiking the price of essential commodities by shopkeepers and panic buying by the commoners have become the norm every time there's a crisis in the state of Manipur. One will remember the economic blockade of the 2016-17 when the National Highway (NH) 2 of the Imphal-Dimapur Road was blocked for over 100 days leading to spike in prices of essential commodities.
A cooking gas cylinder cost as much as Rs 2000 then in the black market - the prices of essential commodities more than doubled. Despite the hike in prices, panic buying continued.
And today, we are in a similar situation - alleged hoarding of essential commodities by shopkeepers and hiking of prices and panic buying by the common people in view of the present situation in the state.
As per government officials, essential commodities are being made available to the public, but still, it panic buying is being witnessed. So much so that, they even ignore the prices of the commodities.
Yes, a kilo of package salt which is priced at Rs 20 was seen sold at Rs 50 in some hill districts, a bag of superfine rice, which costs about Rs 1200 per 50 kg bag was seen sold at Rs 1600-1800 for the same amount in some areas.
Petrol in the black market was sold for as much as Rs 250-300 per litre too. And yet again, the panic buying continued.
In every crisis, be it economic blockade, bandhs along the national highways or the likes, the state government has been doing its best in making sure that essential commodities are made available to the public.
Yes, due to certain situations and the prevailing conditions of the time, availability of essential commodities might have been delayed. However one will have realized that they have been made available to the people but it's the panic buying that has often caused confusion amongst the people. So, what should be done then?
Easier said than done but people should stop panicking. There's a solution to every problem though some problems might take longer time than others to get solved. Panicking is no solution to anything but only creates more confusion and more panic.
Moreover, the concerned authorities need to check stocking or hoarding of essential commodities by shopkeepers and help check price rise. Queues at petrol pumps are one example where the queues become shorter as days pass and then it's back to normal. But why the long queues in the first place and the panic buying?
The thought that petrol won't be available due to a certain crisis or so. However, we have seen the government's effort in making petrol available to its citizens - the same with other essential commodities too.
Yes, time and situation lead to stocking of essential commodities, price hike and panic buying. However, one must learn from the government's effort in the past and refrain from panic buying as it only gives the upper hand to the shopkeepers to stock up essential commodities and then hike the prices.
And for how long can shopkeepers stock up commodities before they are sold once again at normal prices? Not really. So, it appears that one too many occasions, the public has given the advantage to the shopkeepers in stocking up commodities and hiking the prices through panic buying.