Hyderabad: As the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown rules have been eased in several places in the country from 4 May, it is likely to cause a sharp rise in the demand for hand sanitisers and face masks. A seven-days survey conducted by Local Circles, a leading community social media platform in India, found that 62 per cent of the 16,000 people surveyed had bought hand sanitisers at a price higher than the government-mandated price of Rs. 100 for 200 ml.

Of the 62 per cent, 34 per cent had bought sanitiser at a general retail store or from a chemist while 28 per cent had bought it through an e-commerce app. Meanwhile, 38 per cent bought it at the price fixed by the government from retail stores.

The survey also found that 37 per cent of the people said they had to buy an unknown brand of sanitiser as reputed brands were out of stock. People were so desperate to purchase hand sanitisers during the pandemic that they were willing to buy anything that was available in the market, without verifying its authenticity.

Many people have also reported that retailers are not providing proper bills for these sanitisers of unknown brands even when they request for one. “Additional enforcement by the state legal metrology and consumer affairs departments can help ensure that consumers are not overcharged for this essential commodity in times of COVID-19,” the survey suggested.

Based on the MHA guidelines issued on 1 May, many relaxations have been announced across the country in red, green, and orange zones. This would mean that many IT parks, small-scale industries, factories, and offices will open again and people will start venturing out of their homes. The demand for hand sanitisers and face masks will only rise as the lockdown is relaxed. The survey said finding hand sanitisers and masks at government-mandated prices will be a challenge for the people.

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