Rumours of an acute shortage of salt in Bihar shot up its prices to Rs.150 a kg in a day.
Nine people were arrested Friday for allegedly spreading rumours of an acute shortage of salt in Bihar due to which its prices shot up to Rs.150 a kg in a day, police said. Salt normally sells for Rs.8-Rs.16 depending on its quality.
Nine people were arrested for alleged blackmarketing of salt from Darbhanga, Champaran’s Bettaih, Barauni in Begusarai and Danapur in Patna districts since Thursday night, an officer said.
“I have asked district authorities to lodge FIRs against the hoarders selling salt at rates above the maximum retail price under section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act,” Bihar’s Food and Civil Supply Minister Shyam Razak told IANS here.
Principal Secretary (Food and Civil Supplies) Sishir Sinha asked the people not to buy salt in panic as Bihar had adequate stocks.
The state government alerted officials and police Thursday after it was reported that salt was being sold at an exorbitant Rs.50 to Rs.150 per kg in parts of state amid rumours of its acute shortage.
Rubbishing the rumours, Razak said that reports of a salt shortage in the state were baseless.
“It is purely a rumour, nothing else. We have appealed to people not to purchase salt from the blackmarket by paying four to ten times its original price,” he said.
According to reports here, people in nearly a dozen districts, including Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Begusarai, Sitamarhi, Saharsa, Samastipur, Madhubani, Sheohar, have since Wednesday bought salt at Rs.50-150 per kg after the rumours of salt shortage.
Taking advantage of the rumours, traders and shopkeepers in these districts sold salt at higher price, he said. “I have asked the concerned officials to inquire into rumours and take action against those found responsible for it.”
However, Razak blamed opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for spreading rumours to defame the state government and creating an artificial crisis.