Curfew pushes daily items off the shelves

Many essential daily items have left the shelves. Truck movements between factories, warehouses and supermarkets had previously been affected by the curfews declared by some states and Union territories. Now, consumers say they can't find brands like, and Aashirvaad to name a few, even as the nation began its 21-day shutdown on Wednesday.

Industry sources said the unsolicited interruption in the supply chain is mainly due to overzealousness by a section of the police force that was allegedly arresting even consumer product stockists and discharge staff to carry out your basic tasks.

Consumers are also running out of bottled drinking water. There are long lines outside supermarkets as consumers rush to stock up for the next few weeks, causing some to take advantage of the situation. A complex in Hyderabad, for example, has set an upper limit of Rs 500 for the purchase of vegetables and an upper limit of Rs 1000 for general items.

The meat and seafood brand has stopped operating in Delhi, even when consumers complained that they ran out of pet food.

Distributors across the country have stopped operating and are waiting a few days for things to calm down as there is confusion over labor movements. They, along with retailers, have an inventory of 15-20 days. Companies, even those that have stopped manufacturing, will have a 20-25-day inventory, senior industry executives said.

Godrej Consumer Products and Nestle India, in separate updates from stock exchanges, said operations in some places are curtailed or suspended.

An FMCG official said: “Supply chains are very complex. What is produced in the factories has to reach the markets. To produce essential goods, we need to obtain different raw materials. If the movement of goods does not occur, how will these products reach consumers?

The sources indicated that ITC production of food products such as biscuits, packaged foods, noodles and other products such as hand washing, soaps and disinfectants has been affected nationwide. ITC's factories in Panchla and Uluberia in West Bengal, primarily for food products, are known to have closed since Monday night. An ITC spokesperson said: “We are in constant dialogue with relevant state government authorities to apply for permission and authorization to manufacture essential products in select factories with a minimum number of people. We are also seeking permission from local authorities for the transportation of essential products from factories, warehouses, as well as for the distribution of products to retail outlets.

Emami director Aditya Agarwal told TOI that of its three edible oil plants in the country, the Rajasthan plant was closed after the curfew. “The West Bengal plant is operating, but at 20% of capacity. The problem is a lack of manpower and transportation. Edible oil is not only necessary for cooking, but is the raw material for cookies, cakes, breads, he added. RS Sodhi, MD of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation that manufactures Amul, said that due to higher-than-usual demand for milk, the company has increased supplies to Mumbai by 15-20%, but there is a 20-25% decrease in demand for products such as ice cream and cheese because restaurants are closed. “There are some interruptions in logistics. For example, if an empty vehicle is not allowed to reach the descent, how will it be full of products again? Also, to pack any product, packaging material is required. This is generally outsourced. But the packaging material is not an essential product. Companies often have a 15-day inventory of packaging material, said Sodhi.

For Metro Cash&carryindia,of27storesinthecountry,19operatewith15-20%ofstaff.hismumbaistorewasunabletoopenonwednesdayasnooneshowedupforwork.mdandceoarvindmedirattasaid:“localdistrictmagistratesorpolicecommissionersdonotallowustoopenstores.policeofficersaremistreatingemployeeswhoventureoutoftheirhomestogotostores.yesterday,therewerequiteafewcasesofpoliceofficersbeatingupouremployeeseventhoughtheyareinvolvedincriticalservices.kiranaowners,ontheotherhand,areunabletovisitmetrostores,resultinginashortageofdalandedibleoils.

bonngroupofindustrieshasfacedmanydisruptionstothetransportationoftheirbreadsnotonlyinallstates,butalsowithinpunjabitself.“weaskthepunjabgovernmenttomakespecialpointsineachcityfromwhichconsumersorchannelpartnerscanpickupbreadsandotheressentialproducts.thestateauthorityshouldalsoallowustohaveaspecialvehiclezoneinsomeareassothattheessentialscangetclosetotheconsumer'sdoors,saiddirectoramrindersingh.

thecompaniesalsoblamedconsumerhoardingforthedisappearanceofgoodsfromretailshelvesfasterthanusual.therehavebeenalotofpanicbuyinginthepasttwoweeks,parleproductscategorychiefmayankshahsaid.wearetryingtosupplyasmuchaswecan.theproblemistalkingtolocalauthorities,thedistrictcollectorormagistratestoallowustowork,tosaythatcookiesarefood.permissionisneededfortheentiresupplychain,”saidshah.

(contributionsfromnamratasinghinmumbai,uditprasannamukherjiinkolkata,johnsarkarinnewdelhi,sujitjohnandavikdasinbangalore)

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