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Cops stop online delivery players during Janata Curfew, Retail News, ET Retail

Cops stop online delivery players during Janata Curfew BENGALURU: Online grocery retailers like Bigbasket and Grofers besides e-pharmacy players said that their delivery executives were stopped by police personnel across states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu on Sunday during Janata Curfew announced by Prime Minister Modi.

The development comes days after Modi recognised the role played by delivery executives as an “essential service” and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs issued a notification on Friday to allow these players to continue operating.

“Our delivery executives are selflessly putting their safety at risk to ensure people stay indoors and get all their essentials at home. And then they get stopped and harassed by police and local goons. Who are we really clapping for at 5pm today?,” tweeted Saurabh Kumar, co-founder of Softbank-backed Grofers.

These companies feel that state-level enforcement agencies are not on the same page as the central government on e-commerce deliveries. On Saturday, TOI reported that Consumer Affairs Ministry urged all the state and local governments to exempt e-commerce operations, including their warehousing and logistics facilities and services, from any type of prohibitory orders amid coronavirus scare so that there is no shortage of essential items for consumers.

“We get geared. All delivery staff geared. Happy to serve the nation. They start deliveries and cops stop them, some got beaten also. We had to shut down,” said a Bigbasket spokesperson.

Online grocery players are seeing a spike of 80-100% in orders over the weekend as customers across metros start stocking up staples like flour, rice and pulses besides disinfectants, hand sanitisers, diapers, and personal care items, TOI had reported last Monday. These companies have also started taking precautionary measures, like getting delivery personnel checked for temperatures every day, educating them about sanitising before and after deliveries besides also offering the option to consumers of contactless deliveries.

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