New Delhi/Moradabad: Lack of small denomination currency today triggered rumours of black marketing of essential commodities like salt as shopkeepers refused to provide change when offered with higher denomination notes.
In Moradabad, there were reports of panicked customers flocking to market as rumours flew thick and fast that salt has gone out of shelves and shopkeepers are selling at a premium.
Circle Officer Kotwali area Poonam Mishra said police has been sent to Katra Naj from where reports of black marketing had emanated.
She said complaints will be filed against some shopkeepers for allegedly triggering the rumours of salt getting in shortage and charging premium for providing essential commodities.
In the Makbara market and Karbula market also people thronged the area to purchase salt because of rumours of shortage and black marketing.
Circle officer Vijay Pratap Yadav sent force to get the shops closed as people had lined up to stock essential commodities.
Police sources said shopkeepers were unable to offer change for higher denomination notes so when people came to purchase commodities like salt they offered to sell it without returning the change.
For example, some shopkeepers asked for Rs 500 for three kilogrammes of salt as they did not have change.
This triggered panic that shopkeepers are black marketing essential commodities because of shortage.
ADM City Arun Kumar Srivastava said they will depute magistrates and police to check any attempt to black market essential commodities.
Even in Delhi, there were reports of salt being sold at a premium but they could not be confirmed independently.
"I had gone to a mall in Mayur Vihar phase one where salt was out of stock. Then I went to Trilokpuri where salt was being sold at Rs 55 per kilogram as shopkeepers do not have change to offer," Abhishek Roy, an executive with a telecom major told PTI.
Meanwhile, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs Hem Pande said that salt shortage in states is a rumour and there is no need to panic.
In Allahabad, some people said that shopkeepers in certain parts of the city were refusing selling it.
"People in my neighbourhood told this in the evening following which my father went to check whether it was true, the news that salt prices have gone up and stocks have also finished," said Zainab Zafar, a resident of Kareli area in Allahabad.
"It was shocking that salt was not available in many of the local kiraana shops here, with some of the shopkeepers refusing to sell it saying the prices of salt will change tomorrow and it will cost around Rs 300 per kg," she said.
Zoha Rahman, a resident of Bamrauli on the city's outskirts, said kirana shops reopened in the night with people thronging them to buy salt following the news that it will soon go out of stock and its prices will sky-rocket.
"The shops which had closed down by late evening were reopened as several people reached there to purchase salt. People are saying that prices will change after midnight," she said.