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Panic buying: Salt sells at Rs 150 a kg in Bihar; three held

The state government rebutted the rumours on Thursday. Three people have been arrested in this connection.

There is no truth in reports that the state is facing shortage of common salt, Bihar’s food and civil supply minister Shyam Razak told mediapersons in Patna.

‘It is purely a rumour, nothing else. We have appealed to people not to purchase salt from the black market by paying four to ten times its original price,’ Razak said.

He said that people, particularly in rural areas, should not purchase salt in panic.

According to reports, people in half a dozen districts, including Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Madhubani, Sheohar, have since Wednesday bought salt at Rs.50-150 per kg after rumours spread that salt will be out of market soon.

Taking advantage of the rumours, traders and shopkeepers in these districts sold salt at higher price, Razak said.

‘I have asked the concerned officials to inquire into rumours and take action against those found responsible for it,’ the minister said.

However, Razak blamed opposition BJP for spreading rumours to defame the state government and to create an artificial crisis. ‘Rumours were deliberately spread by BJP to create anger among people against the state government. BJP and its mentor RSS are well known for spreading rumours,’ he said.
With people already buying onions and potatoes at high prices, rumours of salt shortage only rang alarm bells for the state government, Razak said.

Principal secretary (food and consumer affairs) Shishir Sinha told reporters that the rumour about shortage of salt had started on Wednesday and gained currency on Thursday in districts like Muzaffarpur, West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Darbhanga and Supaul located on the Indo-Nepal border.
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