After cases of delivery-partners from BigBasket and Grocers being halted by law-enforcement agencies, citing the nationwide lockdown, online grocery selling platforms are now seeking help from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and state governments.
According to an ET report, top officials of these companies along with industry bodies such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have requested PMO and other authorities to bring clearer directives for law enforcement agencies to restart their operations amid the nation-wide lockdown.
The companies are expecting the government to take effective measures from Wednesday (March 25). Prior to this, both Grofers and BigBasket have reported that law enforcement agencies were harassing delivery-partners leading to the cancellation of lakhs of orders.
Additionally, police departments in various states even temporarily locked down the warehouses of these companies. While six warehouses of Grofers were shut down, BigBasket’s warehouses were locked down by local authorities in Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Patna, Pune, and Kochi. As a result, Grofers had to rescheduled over 260K orders. On the other hand, over 100K orders of BigBasket were also impacted because of the lockdown situation.
BigBasket’s CEO Hari Menon said that a lot of work has happened and the clearances should come soon. “Mumbai finally got sorted, while Bengaluru — our largest city — is almost clear now. Telangana is work-in-progress but things are moving fast now,” he added.
Before this, the department of promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) had asked state governments to allow the delivery of essential products from ecommerce channels amid coronavirus outbreak in India. The consumer affairs department also asked the state government to hold discussions with ecommerce players to ensure the supply of essential goods to the masses.
Ecommerce To Only Focus On Essentials
According to a LocalCircles survey, 79% of individuals failed to place online orders of essential goods such as groceries in the last two days. It is worth noting that only 35% of individuals had faced this problem between March 20 to March 22.
But with recent efforts of the central and state government authorities, this might change soon. For example, Gurguram police has also issued a notification allowing online platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon, BigBasket, Grofers, Dunzo, BlueDart among others to continue the delivery of essential items there. Flipkart has resumed grocery deliveries after temporarily suspending operations earlier today.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has launched electronic curfew passes (e-passes) to allow delivery-partners of these companies to facilitate the delivery of essential items to consumers.