Coffee, diapers may face supply crunch in lockdown 3.0 in Delhi

New Delhi: Although there is no shortage of essential goods and medicines in the national capital, a Delhi government report suggests that supplies dependent on imports, including coffee, diapers and dry fruits, may face a supply crunch if the lockdown gets extended beyond May 3.

The first report of the ‘Empowered Group on Facilitating the Supply Chain and Logistics Management for Availability of Necessary Items such as Food and Medicines in Delhi’ said that in the initial days of the lockdown, the prices of pulses had gone up by Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kg.

“But the prices are told to have stabilised in the later phase of the lockdown,” said the report signed by Food and Civil Supplies Secretary-cum-Commissioner Ankita Mishra Bundela.

The report also suggested that some items of particular brands are in short supply, including chips of a particular brand, ‘namkeen’ and products of a famous snack and sweets brand, and products of some major consumer good companies.

It also said that some branded shampoos, moisturisers, biscuits, cereals (muesli) and sanitisers are also in short supply.

“It is gathered from the market that the certain items, the supply of which are also dependent on imports like coffee, diapers, dry fruits, oils and cereals etc, are expected to face a supply crunch, if the lockdown is extended beyond May 3,” it said,.

The report said that contrary to the initial apprehension, “there has been no disruption in the sale and supply of essential goods in Delhi.”

It said the efficient pass system helped the “e-commerce companies, distributors, suppliers and retailers to maintain the supply chain of essential goods.”

The report added that a large number of the general public made disproportionate purchase of essential goods due to insecurity, “which led to temporary shortage of some items of prominent brands”.

The report also claimed that all the items are generally available in the market, though some of the shops may not be having particular items or items of particular brands.

“The products of some of the prominent fast moving consumer goods are not available at some of the stores but the goods of alternative brands or homemade brands are generally available,” the report said.

Also, it added that though there is no scarcity of essential medicines, the factories are told to be operating at less than 50 per cent of their capacity.

“The distributors may not be able to make supplies of all the medicines if the production remains affected at the source level for a long time,” it said.

The report also highlighted that there is a general shortage of labour for loading and unloading of goods.

The report concludes by saying that there has been a smooth supply of essential goods in Delhi, but constant watch is essentially required for a timely intervention to prevent any possible disruption in sale and supply of such goods during the lockdown period.

On April 20, the government constituted 11 empowered groups for planning and ensuring implementation of Covid-19 response activities. The above mentioned report was from one of the groups.

The Centre had imposed a 21-day lockdown from the midnight of March 24, which was later extended till May 3. However, there has been no decision on its further extension till now.