People in Uttar Pradesh started buying salt on Friday night after rumours of its shortage led to a panic. This further led to a spike in prices. According to ANI, salt is being sold in several parts of the state at Rs 200 per kg. There were similar reports of a rise in its price from the National Capital Region too.

Authorities, however, rubbished the rumours. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said there was no shortage in the commodity and appealed to the public to not pay attention to the rumours. Consumer Affairs Secretary Hem Pande told ANI there was “no need to panic” while the Moradabad district magistrate also denied he rumours. “Salt will not be sold even one rupee more than its original rate,” he said.

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said such shortage reports were false. Additional Director General (law and order) Daljit Chaudhary assured people that action would be taken against those spreading such rumours. One person was detained in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, for spreading rumours that triggered the panic buying.

Police personnel also told PTI that at some places, shopkeepers who did not have change asked buyers for Rs 500 for three kg of salt after the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. The Uttar Pradesh Police are investigating how the rumours started.