Khagen Kalita a regular customer at Ulubari market in Guwahati city, had to struggle to come out of the market on March 24th, 2020 after his purchases.
“Prices have doubled for all the vegetables. It is so crowded…there is no space to walk,” Kalita said.
As the Assam government announced complete lockdown from 6 pm, March 24th, 2020 till March 31st, 2020 (midnight), panicky people rushed to supermarkets and vegetable markets in the city to buy their requirements.
In Lalganesh market, customers were seen waiting in queues to buy vegetables, fish and meat. “People are scared so they are buying in bulk. Within half an hour, I sold all the vegetables,” said Faruk Ali, a vegetable vendor.
Lalita Mukherjee, another customer at the Ganeshguri market said, “Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Apart from vegetables and medicines, I bought biscuits, milk and fruits. It’s better to stock essential items at home. The disease is spreading fast. We need to be prepared.”
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 23rd, 2020 announced that the state will be under lockdown for eight days in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sarma said essential services like pharmacies, medical, water supply, banking, and petrol pumps would be exempted from the purview of the lockdown. The states borders will be sealed and vehicles carrying essential items will only be allowed to ply.
Amid anxiety buying and hoarding of daily essentials, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has directed the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to ensure there is no shortage of essential commodities in the state.
Sonowal also appealed the people of the state to cooperate during the lockdown.
The Chief Minister has also assigned the members of his Council of Ministers to monitor the coronavirus situation in different districts of Assam.