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Meghalaya warns traders not to take advantage of COVID-19 pandemic

Stating that there is no lockdown and as of now there is no shortage of food stock, Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong pointed out to the traders and wholesalers that “there is no crisis” in the State.

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Shillong: The Meghalaya government on Friday warned “opportunists” traders, wholesalers and commercial taxi operators not to take advantage of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Stating that there is no lockdown and as of now there is no shortage of food stock, Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong pointed out to the traders and wholesalers that “there is no crisis” in the State.

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He said that instructions have been given to the Deputy Commissioners and the Food Inspectors to monitor the prices in the markets.

“Instructions have been given that market prices are adhered to. We warn you (traders) don’t take advantage of the current situation,” Tynsong said.

The local traders and wholesalers have been asked to stick with the market price and not inflate the prices to fleece the customers.

“They must realise about difficulties being faced by the residents,” Tynsong said.

During the last lockdown period in 2020, profiteering wholesalers and traders sold essential commodities in the State Capital way above the market price to the gullible customers. The trend has already started this time too.

All shops selling essential commodities are mandated by law to display the price list in front of their shops prominently so that customers are aware of the market rates.

However, this provision of law is flouted blatantly and the State Government has failed to take action in this regard.

The prices of rice, dal, sugar, edible oil, potatoes has increased in the State capital “due to increase of prices at the source” and also based on challans and freight charges, East Khasi Hills District. Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo said.

Despite the increase in prices, sporadic reports have emerged of further hike in prices of essential commodities and local taxi drivers also hiking their fares. said.

Tynsong further said that the general public should raise complaints against such opportunist traders, wholesalers and taxi operators if they find they are inflating prices.

Apart from shops selling essential items those selling non essential items would remain closed from April 26 for a week in the State Capital. A list of 30 such shops have been listed by the DC, which include automobile, textile, computer, footwear and various other non essential shops.

Reiterating that there is no lockdown, Tysnong said that the construction works are continuing and therefore the labour department continues to issue licenses for entry of migrant labourers into the state.

He said 1600 labour licenses have been issued and there are about 200 more pending before the department. He however, said that contractors have to register these workers and all COVID 1-9 protocols including RT-PCR testing have to be done.

“Labour inspectors would strictly monitor construction sites to see that all protocols are followed,” Tynsong said.

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