Aizawl: Widespread panic prevailed in Mizoram since Monday evening as the state government sealed international borders and inter-state borders barring a few entry and exit points.
State supply minister K Lalrinliana, however, said that there is enough stock of essential commodities, including oil and cooking gas.
Residents of Aizawl scrambled for essential commodities since Monday evening prompting some traders to hike prices after a rumour about a patient infected with coronavirus being detected in Assam was spread on social media.
The rumour created fear among the people as they presumed that the government may close state border with Assam, which will affect supply of essential commodities.
Long queues of people were seen in front of several shops rushing out to get the last stock of essential commodities available with them.
In Aizawl, some shops ran out of stock by Tuesday evening.
Sale of rice bags and other essential commodities has increased manifold compared to normal days on Tuesday, sources said.
However, there is no need to worry as more stocks are coming in from neighbouring states, a trader told EastMojo.
Meanwhile, supply minister K Lalrinliana said people need not panic as there was enough stock of essential commodities in the state.
He said that supply of rice, cooking gas, oil and other essential commodities is unlikely to be disrupted because the state government would not close state border with neighbouring states except international border with Bangladesh and Myanmar.
He said that the state hardly imports rice, cooking gas and oil from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Mizoram has its main commercial link with Assam from where almost all the essential commodities are imported.
Officials of civil, supplies and consumer affairs department also said that the rice stock position in the department godowns as on Tuesday was 1,68,569.73 quintals and 1,59,028.20 quintals in all FCI godowns across the state.
With regards to oil stock position in the state capital, supply department officials said that there were 2,54,051 litres of petrol and 2,55,876 litres of diesel, as on Tuesday.
The stock position was sufficient enough to meet the state requirement for three months, officials said.
Officials also said LPG and oil supplies are going on smoothly and are unlikely to be disrupted as the state borders with neighbouring states are not sealed.
They said that the state government has prohibited hoarding and hike in prices of essential commodities.
Legal action will be taken against any violators under ‘The Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019’, they added.
The development comes at a time when the state government has sealed international borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
However, border restrictions will be relaxed on certain occasions at Zokhawthar and Kawrpuichhuah villages along the India-Myanmar and India-Bangladesh borders, respectively, a home department official said.
He said that Border Security Force (BSF) will be deployed along with state police along the India-Bangladesh border while Assam Rifles and state police would be deployed along the India-Myanmar border.
The state government also closed inter-state border barring four entry or exit points- Vairengte and Bairabi for Assam, Khawkawn for Manipur and Kanhmun for Manipur.
Following the decision of Monday’s emergency meeting, the state government on Tuesday constituted a state-level task force on mitigation of coronavirus headed by state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo.
During the meeting of the task force on Tuesday, Chuaungo said that no case of coronavirus has been detected in the state till date.
He said that strict vigilance would be maintained along the international and national borders to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.