People queue up at general ground in Seppa, Arunachal Pradesh for cold drinks | Photo Courtesy: Seppa 360 News

A large crowd gathered at Seppa in East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on May 14 to buy carbonated cold drinks keeping aside all the physical distancing norms in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A local media report said that a large crowd gathered at the general ground in Seppa on May 14 as the agency selling cold drinks in the district started distributing the bottles there. Truck-loads of cold drink bottles were ‘sold’ in the general ground as people – both young and senior citizens – lined up in queues to grab some bottles.

Commenting on the scene, Seppa 360 News said that, “Apart from Roti, Kapda and Makaan, cold drinks must be included under the category of basic essential stuffs!”

The report added that many people in Seppa were worried about not getting cold drinks at a time when the world was worried of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were waiting since 6 in the morning but young people are getting it while we are still in queue. We are not getting this for free,” said one of the women present there. She added that because of all this trouble, cold drinks should be banned for 3 months.

The district administration deployed security personnel to control the situation but still people were not following physical distancing norms as was seen in videos shared on the social media.

On May 11, the Arunachal Times reported that 12 shops in Seppa were sealed by the district administration for selling cold drinks beyond the maximum retail price. A joint team of officials from the district administration and members of the East Kameng Chamber of Commerce and Industry raided several shops in the township on May 9, during which the shops were found to be selling cold drinks above MRP in violation of the Legal Metrology Act.

The Dawnlit Post reported that many shopkeepers were selling 2.5-litre bottles of cold drinks priced Rs 85 at Rs 250. Seppa 360 News said that the black market price for such bottles range from Rs 250-Rs 400.

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