COVID-19 fear spurs hoarding of face masks

Sunsari, March 7

The demand for face masks has soared due to the coronavirus scare, leading to black-marketing of the commodity in Sunsari’s Dharan. This came to light following monitoring of pharmacies in the city yesterday by the authorities concerned. The monitoring team confiscated around 1,900 pieces of face masks from Guardian Pharma of Dharan-18.

“The shopkeeper and staffers told us that the entire stock had been sold out and they were yet to procure fresh batch of the commodity. But when we raided their godown, there was a huge pack of masks,” said leader of the monitoring team Deputy Mayor Manju Bhandari.

Bhandari said that action would be taken against shop owners found to be creating artificial shortage of the commodity with the intention to earn more profit.

“We acted in the wake of increasing complaints of black-marketing of face masks and daily essentials,” said Dharan Sub-metropolitan City marketing monitoring Officer Bed Prakash Sapkota, adding that pharmacies, petrol pumps and LPG dealers were being monitored.

“Though we didn’t find any anomalies in the distribution of LPG, petrol and food items, we have learnt about shortage of face masks during our monitoring,” said the deputy mayor.

The monitoring team also comprised DSP Dhundiraj Neupane of Dharan Area Police Office, APF DSP Rajendra Shrestha and Sunsari Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Sitaram Acharya.