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Lack of on-ground clarity limits full scale operations for online grocers

After almost two whole days of no operations and a series of meetings with various police departments and local bodies, some of these companies resumed operations in patches across the country.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi | Published: March 27, 2020 1:16:44 am
coronavirus, Coronavirus India Lockdown, covid 19, novel coronavirus, covid 19 india, coronavirus e commerce India’s largest online grocer Bigbasket said it has started delivering orders in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysuru, Nagpur, Noida, Surat, Vadodara and Vijayawada. (File Photo)

Even as authorities and local police have started issuing directions to allow online companies delivering necessity items like food, grocery, medicines, etc, the players are being cautious in absence of complete certainty on the ground regarding their operations. After almost two whole days of no operations and a series of meetings with various police departments and local bodies, some of these companies resumed operations in patches across the country.

India’s largest online grocer Bigbasket said it has started delivering orders in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysuru, Nagpur, Noida, Surat, Vadodara and Vijayawada. Bigbasket, which is unsure about when it will resume operations in Delhi and Gurgaon, has geofenced the regions with customers not being able to access its website and app.

Its rival Grofers, on the other hand — which has resumed services in Delhi-NCR, including Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad — said it will be ramping up capacities in coming days to fulfil the backlog of orders. Grofers has also resumed services in Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Kanpur.

Grofers said it was facing difficulties in restarting deliveries in Pune and Chennai. “We are currently not operational in these cities and all our warehouses are shut. We are not sure when we will be able to start delivering in these cities again,” it stated.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Puneet Kumar, founder-CEO of SuprDaily, said that the company had on Thursday began delivering perishables like milk and fruits & vegetables to its customers in Bengaluru and Chennai, while it will attempt deliveries to all eight cities it serves, including Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Pune, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

“We were not operating in four cities because the situation on the ground was not very favourable. In the last 24 hours, the situation has slightly improved. Governments are helping us get more clarity and we can provide essential services like milk and groceries across our cities. The big issue has been about the clarity on the last mile, where our delivery boys interface with the police and law enforcement agencies. When one or two incidents happened, it created a fear and the workforce now needs more clarity before they can come back on,” he said.

“As far as movement of trucks is concerned, the problem is that while the government has been really helpful, full clarity is not there on the ground. Some trucks are being allowed, some are not being allowed,” he added.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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