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Retailers, online grocery stores face issues in home deliveries

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020 Published on March 24, 2020

A fil photo of BigBasket home delivery   -  THE HINDU

Law enforcement agencies not allowing deliveries to go through

Retailers and online grocery players are facing issues in supply chain and deliveries as some local enforcement authorities are prohibiting delivery boys and van drivers.

Van drivers and delivery boys were being stopped at toll booths. A few of them were also beaten up by the police.

“We cannot deliver although there is a clear guideline from the ministry of consumer affairs, still there is a problem and it isn’t getting executed well at the ground level. Few of our guys went out, and they were stopped, and some were even beaten up. It’s a grave situation, and customers are crying for the food to be delivered we are gearing up. We are also taking precautions so that the products are delivered safe and we are not being allowed to deliver. We have such a high intensity of orders,” said Hari Menon, CEO, BigBasket.

Osia Hypermarket, which has 16 stores in Gujarat, was forced to shut down. Sandeep Tailor, Chief Finance Officer of Osia Hyer Retail Limited, said, “We have messages from over 2,000 people who are requesting us to keep our stores open. This uncertainty over the lockdown is making it difficult for us and the customers.”

For Albinder Dhindsa, Co-founder and CEO of Grofers, “The challenge is the uncertainty,” At the moment, Grofers has had many incidents where their vans are being turned back from entering cities which are carrying products from our godown. Some of their delivery boys were also arrested. It ended up impacting their deliveries to a great extent.

“Though most authorities are supportive, what’s happening is that by the time it cripples dow n to district collector offices or other local authorities, there is a lack of translation in communication at some places. We need help. The staff that have a letter from us, a declaration from the state that the essential stores should be open and a uniform should be allowed to come to our stores,” said Sadashiv Nayak, CEO, Big Bazaar

Production & supply stopped

On a larger level, if the production and supply are stopped at the ground level, the lack of food will impact people more than the coronavirus itself, said Menon.

According to industry sources, FMCG players too were facing problems because some Sate authorities weren’t allowing them to access their godowns. “Smaller players will get impacted much more,” said an industry source.

The internal supply chain is not impacted at the moment “but there is a possibility that it may impact in the future,” Dhindsa added.

“We are working with the State governments requesting them to sensitise the enforcement authorities,” said Menon. The company has written a letter to the Central government too in this regard. Grofers too is speaking with local and central governments.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has requested all the State Governments to allow all food and grocery stores within malls or outside, air-conditioned or not air-conditioned, small or large stores and online or offline to stay open during the lockdown period.

“Most of the State Governments have agreed with RAI’s view that shutting of stores selling essential daily need items will cause gross inconvenience to citizens and may set off panic buying of daily need items, thereby creating a shortage for the needy,” RAI said in a statement.

RAI has also requested the home deliveries be allowed to prevent people from stepping out of their homes thereby preventing the spreading of the infection.

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Published on March 24, 2020
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