With Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing down in the city, many people have again begun stocking up safety equipment, including face masks, hand sanitisers and disposable gloves. And just as it had happened in the beginning of the pandemic in March, many shopkeepers are exploiting the situation by charging exorbitant prices and selling inferior quality stuff to customers who are not experts on the quality of the hand sanitisers, masks, disinfectant sprays and liquids that they buy.
Many shops are selling locally manufactured hand sanitisers claiming it can kill 100 per cent germs. “The price of a 150 ml hand sanitiser bottle is Rs 80 in many shops while branded quality products are actually priced much lesser. Many who are unaware of the pricing are buying it, spending more than they should,” said Nagamani , employee of a BPO.
Laxman Murthy of Sankarmatam area said recently he purchased face masks from a store in Daba gardens and later found them to be of inferior quality. “Many stalls have come up on the roadside at Jagdamba Junction and before St. Anthony’s Church. The shop owners are selling products which are not of proven quality and are charging exorbitant prices.
Also, for disinfectant spraying machines, they are neither giving any warranty or guarantee nor providing a user manual or bill, but are charging exorbitantly,” he said. He said a manual spraying machine that cost Rs1,600 in the wholesale shops a few months ago was now being sold for Rs 2,400 in the market. Similarly, a 25 kg bag of bleaching/disinfectant powder usually sold at Rs 700 a bag is now sold for Rs 1,200 to people who want to use it in colonies or residential apartments.
According to police officials, hand sanitisers are being manufactured by certain companies on the city outskirts and being pumped into the market due to the huge demand. But according to Special Task force official, Hand sanitisers cannot be manufactured without the permission of Drug Control Authority.