Delhi's chaat and panipuri vendors have started selling vegetables amidst coronavirus lockdown

  • With the nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus, many local businesses have shut shop and instead started selling vegetables.
  • This has resulted in your panipuri waala now selling vegetables.
  • Even the vegetable vendors are cautious of the panic buying phenomena and refusing to sell more than required.
Rohit, a local vegetable vendor in one of Delhi’s posh areas, set out early in the morning for a recce. He was figuring out road closures in an area in India’s national capital due to the coronavirus pandemic and mapping out ways to bring out his vegetable cart.

With the nationwide lockdown, factories and businesses have come to a halt – and these include daily wage earners as well as local shops and vendors.

But the vegetable and grocery vendors are not among them. In fact, it’s turning out to be a busy time for them, not just because of the high demand but the new competition that has come in.


“The panipuri waala, chaat waala are all selling vegetables now. So, there is a high demand for vegetables but there are more people in the business also now,” said Rohit, while adding, “But what can I do, they have to do something to earn and feed their families.”

Across the city, multiple such ‘overnight’ switches of businesses are noticed.

In Delhi, a busy florist has also shut shop and instead of flowers on the table for display, there are now vegetables. “Who is going to buy flowers during this time,” he says.

So, Rohit and his father Arun (name changed), walk along the bylanes of Delhi selling vegetables and relying on their daily customers for their earnings – they are also seen wearing masks and gloves. But Rohit, who used to wake up at 4 am and rush to the Okhla sabzi mandi, now goes there by 1 am in the night. “By 4 am, there’s a lot of rush and good vegetables are gone. So I decided to go as early as possible,” he said.

But isn’t he scared given the spread of the virus? “We have to earn,” he shrugs.

Another vegetable vendor in Dwarka, now stocks essential groceries – rice, dal and oil, at his shop now.

But even then, they aren’t greedy for business. In fact, they are asking people to avoid panic buying. In Mumbai, when a hassled working from home professional decided to order 5 extra kgs of rice (having ordered 5 kgs just a few days ago) from his local kiraana waala shop, the shopkeeper, who understood his requirements, told him no and said that shops will remain and not to worry.

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