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COVID-19: SC asks government to take strict action against mask, sanitiser hoarders

The petition has been filed by an NGO seeking the apex court's intervention to ensure that masks and sanitisers are sold at controlled price

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 3, 2020 | Updated 15:57 IST
COVID-19: SC asks government to take strict action against mask, sanitiser hoarders
N95 masks

The government on Friday told the Supreme Court that it's looking into the effective implementation of its notification on controlling the price of masks and sanitisers amid coronavirus outbreak. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court that the government would publish and publicise helpline numbers for controlling the prices. The petition has been filed by an NGO seeking the apex court's intervention to ensure that masks and sanitisers are sold at controlled price.

The March 21 notification issued by the government had fixed the prices of the masks and sanitisers. It had said two masks should be available for Rs 8 and three for Rs 10. Besides, a 200 ml bottle of hand sanitiser cannot be sold for more than Rs 100. Even as the steps have been taken, their implementation has not been timely and effective and the same is required to be done for controlling the spread of this pandemic, the petitioner told the Supreme Court. The police and concerned authorities should be advised to take immediate and strict action with regard to black-marketing and hoarding of masks and sanitisers, the petitioners said. Meanwhile, the court has directed the government to take all necessary steps to publicise the notification on control of mask and sanitiser pricing. The Supreme Court asked the government to ensure that strict immediate action is taken against the violators.

The petitioner also told the Supreme Court that food commodities are stuck in mandis and the movement of 60 per cent trucks has been affected owing to lockdown or salaries of drivers not being paid. Of 1.25 crore kirana stores in the country, only 20 percent are open due to short supplies, it added. The supply chain has completely collapsed resulting in price inflation for consumers while farmers are not getting their price, the petitioner said. India is under a 21-day lockdown currently to fight against the life-threatening coronavirus.

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