Rumours of an impending salt shortage led to panic-buying in India’s north-eastern states and parts of West Bengal state on Friday, officials and media reports said, with a kilo of salt being sold for as much as 200 rupees ($3) compared to average retail selling prices of about 20 rupees (around 35 cents).
Witnesses reported people queuing up at grocery stores to stockpile salt packets, with several shops running out of the usually cheap and plentiful product a day after similar rumours surfaced in Bihar state.
On Thursday, the Bihar state government said that there was abundant supply of the condiment after panic-buying in several districts and state capital Patna following rumours of a reduced supply from Gujarat state, India’s biggest producer of salt.
A senior police official in Mizoram state said many stores in the state had run out of salt.
“Since early morning people have been rushing to buy salt, there is nothing left to buy in stores,” P.C. Chunga, the additional superintendent of police in Mizoram’s Mamit district, told Reuters over the phone.