New Delhi: Rubbishing rumours of shortage of salt in the country, the central government on Friday said there has been no increase in prices of the commodity which is being sold at Rs 14-15 per kg in retail markets.
"This is rubbish. There is no truth in this rumour. There is no shortage of salt in the country. On an average, salt prices are ruling at Rs 14-15 per kg same at last year's level. There has not been increase in prices," Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.
Unnecessary panic is being spread that salt is being sold at Rs 200 per kg. "Those who have sold at Rs 200, the UP government should take action and arrest them," he said.
If anyone is selling at such high rates in any parts of the country, the state governments should take immediate action, he added.
In a series of tweets, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too said there was no shortage of edible salt.
"Baseless rumours being spread. Salt Commissioner & Jt. Secretary Shri Raghavendra monitoring the situation. Asst.Salt Commissioners reporting from the field. No shortage. Monitoring will be on-going," she tweeted.
Lack of small denomination currency today triggered rumours of black marketing of essential commodities like salt as shopkeepers refused to provide change when offered with higher denomination notes.
In Uttar Pradesh, there were reports of panicked customers flocking to market as rumours flew thick and fast that salt has gone out of shelves and shopkeepers are selling at a premium -- a high as Rs 200 per kg.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande said, "There is no truth in this rumour. It is all rumour mongering. There is no problem in supply, distribution and prices of salt in the country."
He said that the prices have been ruling stable at Rs 12 per kg in the wholesale markets and Rs 14-15 per kg in retail.
Asked if the Centre has spoken on this issue with the UP government, Pande said, "We have spoken to state officials and they too informed us that there is no truth in this rumour. Prices in UP are ruling on an average at Rs 16-17 per kg".
The centre has also checked the price situation of salt in other states as well and there has not been any increase in the rate of the essential commodity.
Meanwhile, Delhi government also appealed to Delhiites not to pay attention to rumours of shortage of salt in the city and assured that there is no scarcity of such essential commodity.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said teams of food supply officers and sub-divisional magistrates are rounding city's markets where salt is available in sufficient stock.