The Mysuru district administration announced a lockdown with stricter measures from May 29, 2021, to June 7, 2021.
Mysuru: Nagendra had to wait for at least 45 minutes from 6:45 am before the queue moved up, and he could buy some essentials at Ashoka Provision Stores in Ballal Circle in Mysuru. Slightly irritated, he left the queue to come back 30 minutes later. “I came back and found, to my indignation,that the queue had become longer. I eventually bought two commodities holding ground that I had already waited for 45 minutes,” Nagendra said.
“It was insane, people had thronged the place as if the world will end tomorrow,” he added.
Malini, an 81-year-old woman, could not stand at the provision store for too long as the queue was long. She was scared of the number of people gathered there to buy essentials. “I couldn’t wait any longer, I was exhausted, I turned to leave, the store manager himself came to me, looking at my tired face, he gave me all the commodities that I wanted,” she said.
Ashoka Provision Stores, a neighborhood provision store in the city, is quite popular in the area. SV Kashyap, the owner of the store, said that there were at least 300 to 350 people between six and 10 in the morning on Friday, a day before the lockdown came into effect.
“We had planned this and we had some extras for Friday morning because we knew there would be panic buying after Thursday’s announcement. As of now, we are prepared for Monday too,” Kashyap said.
The Mysuru district administration announced a stricter lockdown starting from Saturday, May 29 to June 7. They have allowed standalone milk booths, HOPCOMS, fair price shops, and medical-related centers to operate every day. However, for the two weeks the lockdown will be in effect, Essential commodities can be bought only on every Monday and Thursday, between six am and 12 pm.
Ashwath Narayana, owner of Beerebetta Plantation Coffee in Saraswathipuram in the city did not have enough time to have his morning dose of coffee at his shop on Friday. He opened his store at 5:45 am and expected that there would be a little more people than usual .
“There were at least 200 people today, the queue was huge. I was taken aback by the number of people who turned up. I have stocked 400-450 kilograms of coffee seeds, areca nuts and other dry fruits for Monday,” he said.
Aiyanna, Area Manager for More Supermarket in Mysuru, said that a lot of people in the city were on the street on Friday, panic-buying essential commodities. “Everywhere you could see, there were people. All 12 More Supermarkets in the city had great business today. We only had five people inside the supermarket to maintain social distance, and that resulted in serpentine queues outside the store,” Aiyanna said.
He further said, “We will have deliveries too on Mondays and Thursdays, and we made sure no staff had taken leave because we knew there would be a mad rush on Friday.”
Harshitha, at the customer desk at Big Bazar outlet in Jayalakshmipuram in the city, said that she saw twice the number of people stocking up on essentials than every day. “The store was filled with people this morning,” she said.
Dr. Pushparani, assistant professor of economics at SBRR Mahajana First Grade College in the city, said that the administration should have given at least three to four days’ notice. “It’s a psychological tendency that people will try to stock up on the essentials. Shopkeepers will start supplying from the existing stock of essential commodities, and when the demand for them goes up in the next two weeks, prices will automatically go up, and not everybody can afford it then,” she said.
“Bulk buying is not possible for everybody, and one of the main sections of people affected because of this is the disadvantaged class,” explained Dr. R. Indira, retired professor of Sociology at University of Mysore and visiting faculty at MS Ramaiah Institute of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru.
“Daily wage earners get their wages only at the end of the day, they can’t buy commodities in bulk at once, they usually buy in small quantities, and this decision will affect them badly. Instead, they could have let small, neighbourhood shops open every day for two hours in the morning, and the onus could have been on the shopkeepers to manage the crowd, because after all social responsibility is a collective sentiment,” she said.
This lockdown has been imposed to curb the increasing cases that the Mysuru district is witnessing daily. On Thursday, May 27, the number of cases recorded was 2,240 and the total deaths reported was 18.