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#StartupsVsCovid19: Police Harass Ecommerce Operations, Delivery Partners

#StartupsVsCovid19: Police Harass Ecommerce Operations, Delivery Partners

InnerChef founder Rajesh Sawhney said kitchens have been shut down by police across cities

Bizongo also said that it is facing issues in getting packaging material delivered to customers

Grofers faced a delay in 60K orders on Sunday due to restrictions being enforced by state governments

Amid coronavirus pandemic which has led to lockdown in several Indian states, there have been numerous cases erupting about police harassing delivery executives despite the Indian government asking states to classify ecommerce as essential service amid prohibitory orders.

Social media posts have brought to light several ecommerce companies highlighting that their delivery executives have been stopped multiple times by police personnel on the ground.

In a tweet, Rajesh Sawhney, founder of InnerChef, said that Police has come and shut down their kitchens even though food delivery is allowed. “It’s happened in Delhi, Noida, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru too. Staff is finding it extremely difficult to report to work as well. In any case, they are scared too, many cooks have run away to villages,” Sawhney added.

Prior to this, Snapdeal cofounder and CEO Kunal Bahl said that disruptions in ecommerce operations is “creating absolute mayhem.”

Also, Bizongo cofounder and CEO Aniket Deb took it to Twitter to share his grievances saying that that company is struggling to provide packaging to its customers making essential goods such as grocery, medicines because its warehouses in Bhiwandi, Bengaluru and Gurugram are being asked to shut down.

Albinder Dhindsa, cofounder and CEO, Grofers took it to Twitter today saying that Grofers warehouse in Faridabad was closed by local law enforcement today. “While we understand they are doing their duty, essential items will be denied to 20,000+ households in Faridabad and Delhi every day,” he added.

Ecommerce Warehouses Locked Down

On Sunday, Grofers warehouses in cities such as Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi had been “forced (into) lockdown”. On Sunday, Grofers said that due to confusion regarding the services exempted, many of Grofers’ delivery riders were stopped and arrested which led to a delay in the delivery of almost 60,000 orders countrywide.

Albinder Dhindsa, cofounder and CEO, Grofers, said, “This does not only affect the morale of the delivery staff who are working selflessly to support people but is also causing inconvenience to many customers who are relying highly on our services. Furthermore, in a few states including Maharashtra, we are also facing forced shut down of warehouses in these difficult times.”

On Monday, Flipkart and Amazon temporarily suspended logistics services for sellers across regions, citing operational constraints. At the same time, nearly 25,000-30,000 supermarkets were impacted by the police order to close warehouses in Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, according to Retailers Association of India.

Issues with authorities on the ground and low front-end staff strength have impacted ecommerce operations. BigBasket said that it faced disruptions in many cities as police were not fully aware of certain exemptions announced by state governments for grocery deliveries and had stopped some of BigBasket’s delivery staff from operating.