The Delhi Police on Wednesday issued passes to e-commerce portals for delivery of essential goods throughout the 21-day nationwide lockdown period after BigBasket and Amazon claimed disruptions in their services due to restrictions put by the authorities.
The police representative also said the delivery agents of these companies will be helped by them. Curfew passes will be issued to all delivery persons and all warehouses will be opened. Police personnel at border checks are being sensitised. Home delivery process for the essential items will be made easy by weekend.
Mandeep Singh Randhawa, the Public Relation Officer (PRO), Delhi Police, had a meeting with e-commerce website representatives where they shared the problems faced by them in the movement of essential goods.
“We have issued passes to them and assured that their delivery agents are helped by the police,” said Randhawa.
Earlier, e-commerce portals like BigBasket and Amazon were claiming disruptions in their services due to the restrictions put by the authorities.
One of India’s largest grocery delivery service BigBasket, on their app, said, “Dear Customer, we are not operational due to restrictions imposed by local authorities on the movement of goods in spite of clear guidelines provided by central authorities to enable essential services. We are working with the authorities to be back soon.”
After facing difficulties during the delivery, Flipkart official said they have temporarily suspended its operations and services - including grocery items. The marketplace has decided to halt all orders from March 25 for all three supply chains -- groceries, non-large goods and large items.
“Flipkart has temporarily suspended orders as we assess the possibilities of operating in the lockdown. We are prioritising the safety of our delivery executives and seeking the support of the local Governments and police authorities to meet the needs of our customers as they stay home during this lockdown,” Rajneesh Kumar, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Flipkart, said in a statement.
E-commerce giant Amazon said the company has to temporarily stop taking orders and disable shipments for lower-priority products. “For all pending customer orders on lower-priority products, we are reaching out to customers and giving them a choice to cancel their orders, and receive a refund for prepaid items,” said the company.
The food delivery services, including Swiggy and Zomato, also complained about their delivery boys being stopped by police in Delhi and its peripherals during the food delivery.
“Our delivery partners are facing several hurdles across cities while trying to deliver food which has been classified as an essential service. We are communicating with the relevant authorities and hoping these issues are sorted soon,” said a Zomato official.
Meanwhile, the supermarket chains such as Big Bazaar has offered door delivery of groceries and essential items in some cities, including Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Gurugram and states including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat, during the 21-day lockdown.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Delhi Police have also earmarked a separate lane at the Delhi-Noida border for emergency vehicles to pass during the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The police have also put up a board which reads -- doctors, media, ambulances, police and other exempted vehicles should use the lane. The move comes after many commuters complained that they were having difficulty entering Delhi from Noida amid the lockdown.
In Delhi, several Mother Dairy outlets and local grocery shops witnessed queues to buy essential food items. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said authorities will ensure essential services during the lockdown period and requested people not to panic.
“We will issue e-passes to vegetable-sellers, grocers among others to ensure essential supplies during the lockdown,” Kejriwal said at a joint Press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal, amid reports of alleged harassment of vegetable sellers by the police.
“We will ensure strict implementation of lockdown in Delhi,” Baijal said.