KUNAL CHATTERJEE, Kolkata: In view of the coronavirus outbreak in China, a heightened demand for masks and sanitizers in that country as well as in other nations, including India, have resulted in a short supply of the products. A survey in the market revealed that most medicine retail shops in Kolkata are out of stock as far as masks and sanitizers are concerned.
Kaushik Bairagi, an engineer working in the IT sector in Salt Lake, complained that he had not been able to buy the mask and the sanitizer despite visiting several medical shops. He said, “There are quite a number of our colleagues who are suffering from viral infections as a result of which they are frequently sneezing and coughing. The company had given a directive to use masks and get individual sanitizers even inside the office. Most of our colleagues are having a tough time finding these things. Previously, a mask could be bought for just Rs 10 but now the minimum price is Rs 50.”
Arup Samanta, the manager of a medical store that has a chain of medical shops all over the city, said, “We have noticed a huge demand of mask and sanitizers since the coronavirus outbreak in China. There was a time when no one would buy a mask except for someone who has dust allergy or breathing problem. Recently we had ordered 5,000 masks that were sold in just a month. Sanitizers were also seldom sold as people preferred handwash. Though we have ordered for more, the companies are taking a long time to deliver.”
There are only two Indian companies that manufacture sanitizers—Dettol and Lifebuoy. Asish Purkait, working in one such company as sales manager of East India, said, “The demand for masks and sanitizers have grown manifold. Most of our supplies were diverted abroad. There was never such demand for these products in India. We had supplied adequate numbers in India but interestingly, they were all exhausted in a short period. We inquired with the local companies that make make masks and they told that they are having problems procuring the raw material.”