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E-grocers, pharma services hit amid Corona clampdown, demand govt intervention


Online grocers such as Grofers, Bigbasket and e-pharmacy firm like 1mg complaint of facing a hard time fulfilling the consumers’ orders as local authorities in many states in India shut their warehouses and blocked trucks carrying supplies amid nation-wide clampdown measures on Sunday to check the spread of COVID-19.

They complained of cancelling and rescheduling lakhs of orders despite e-commerce of essential good, and food items have been exempted by the govt from prohibitory orders to stop panic buying and also ensure delivery of essential goods.

The exemption will be applicable for e-commerce operations, warehousing, logistics, wholesalers vendors and delivery partners, the department of consumer affairs had told states on Saturday.

Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa, who took to Twitter to express the concern over the development, requested govt authorities to convey clear communication in this regard on the ground.

“Unfortunately, the message isn’t getting to local authorities. @Grofers facilities and partner stores being shut and trucks carrying essentials not allowed in”, he said.

According to ET report quoting Grofers ground staff, trucks bringing supplies to its warehouses were stopped in states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.

Bigbasket, Milkbasbasket and 1mg also complained of facing problems of same lines such as delayed deliveries and an inability to accept any new orders in several locations.

“We are facing the same issues. Unfortunate that delivery of medicines are getting delayed since the police is not informed what is essential. Hoping the message of essential services is conveyed to the forces on the ground”, said Prashant Tandon, CEO of 1mg in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the govt has confirmed that they have received complain from e-grocers and e-pharmacy firms and look into the matter, as per ET report.

“We are coordinating and communicating all instances of trouble these companies are facing with secretaries at the state level to take action and ensure there is minimal disruption,” said the report quoting a senior govt official.

Entrackr queries seeking response on numbers of orders cancelled by above-mentioned grocers and e-pharmacy firm remain unanswered till the publication of the report.

The latest report comes amid e-grocers witnessing a significant surge in orders, over 80% in last week, due to panic buying resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, which has now been declared as a pandemic by the WHO.

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