Problems faced by e-commerce, grocery and micro delivery platforms during lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic are growing rapidly.
Even though the central government has allowed e-commerce and delivery of essential goods during the crisis, local authorities, societies and police are barring entries of micro delivery platforms that deliver milk and daily essentials.
Cases in point are Milkbasket, SuprDaily, Dunzo, Swiggy Stores and Grofers.
According to Milkbasket, their employees are being harassed and beaten up, and the police are not letting them go. So, nothing is being operated, and it’s happening in all the four states in which they operate.
“Local authorities do not listen to vendors, don’t understand where they are going. On Hero Honda chowk (Gurugram), our 10 vehicles carrying milk were stopped on Monday. The authorities did not let them go. Hyderabad was completely locked down where we faced a 100% loss. While Bangalore and Gurugram were at 20% loss, Noida faced 10% loss” said Anant Goel, CEO, Milkbasket.
The major problem is perishable items including eggs, bread, frozen items stored in the warehouse. If they have to keep shut for 2-5 days, their businesses will be badly hit.
Moreover, there is a lack of supply in metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad as intercity and state travels are impacted due to the coronavirus scare.
In Hyderabad, Milkbasket had to cancel 100% of the orders. Since Delhi has announced a curfew, the company will be facing complete lockdown there as well. On an average basis, the company makes Rs 3 crore worth sales daily.
“We spend money on our employees, provide them with hand sanitizers, masks, they risk their lives to deliver the goods, and then not being able to operate and getting harassed is a problem,” said Goel.
“If we don’t have to serve them, let us know clearly. We will suspend our services,” he added.
In a latest notification sent on SMS, Milkbasket also said that it will not be able to deliver in some societies due to shortage of resources. Entrackr couldn’t immediately verify whether the notification was sent for select societies or for all users.
Grocery players BigBasket and Grofers have also been facing similar problems of being pulled over by ground authorities. For Swiggy Stores, SuprDaily, Dunzo, the problem is the same. Lack of communication between the government and local authorities.
Responding to Entrackr‘s detailed queries, Supr Daily said that the company was forced to delist stock because warehouse executives were not able to reach the warehouse due to movement restrictions within the cities. Hence, it is currently operating with less than 10% capacity.
Entrackr has also sent queries to Swiggy Stores. We’ll update the story as and when it responds.
Basically, these players are asking for a clear picture from the government on whether they can operate or not. In the coming days, many cities may witness full curfew. In that scenario, e-commerce, grocery and micro delivery players should be treated as per the law and guidelines released by the central government and local authorities should ideally follow the same.
India’s counterpart China, where the coronavirus pandemic was first highly impacted, had also dealt with the same problem. China has given its e-commerce firms the special rights to operate during a curfew so that the citizens did not step out to buy essentials.