Gujarat Exclusive > Online grocery stores likely to resume deliveries amid lockdown

Online grocery stores likely to resume deliveries amid lockdown

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Big Basket, Grofers, & Amazon deliveries affected due to problems created by local authorities, especially the police, unaware of the exemptions granted to essential services by the Centre during the lockdown

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in India on Tuesday, several online grocery retailers who have faced several supply chain hiccups over the past few days are aiming to restart delivery as early as possible.

Delivery of essential items like grocery and medicines has been allowed by the government during the next 21 days of the lockdown, which has been declared to limit the spread of novel coronavirus in India.

Online grocery delivery services like Big Basket, Grofers, and Amazon had been forced to cancel many orders over the past few days due to a shortage of supply and on account of local authorities (police) misinterpreting the lockdown as a total curfew.

Over the past few days, delivery agents on their way to deliver groceries have been stopped by local authorities and cops, who misinterpreted the government’s order on allowing essential services, which includes delivery of groceries.

Customers have been sharing order cancellation messages received from online grocery retailers who have faced a number of logistical issues apart from dealing with local authorities, who were not allowing delivery agents to fulfill orders.

For instance, a customer in Ahmedabad received a message from Big Basket that the delivery could not be fulfilled due to restrictions imposed by local authorities.

This despite a clear mandate by the central government, the company added.

The message also said Big Basket is working with local authorities to restart deliveries as soon as possible. There are many customers from around the country who have received similar cancellation messages from online grocery retailers.

Delivery agents of Grofers and Amazon also faced similar problems over the past few days, but are now working hard to ensure smoother delivery during the lockdown period as people’s movement on roads remains strictly restricted.

It is likely that these online grocery retailers will be restarting deliveries as early as Wednesday after clearing the matter out with local authorities.

While there will be delays in deliveries due to the increased volume of orders, customers need not panic about the orders getting cancelled as it is likely to reduce over the next few days.

Grofers CEO Albinder Dhindsa said barring hand wash and sanitisers, the online grocery delivery firm has enough essentials and groceries.

He told Business Today that there was a lack of clarity on the lockdown but added that the situation is expected to get better and that the company will focus on clearing pending delivery backlogs first.

“We plan to deliver 24/7 to clear the backlog. We are partnering with the local administration to ensure that the consumers get their deliveries at the earliest,” he added.

Not just Grofers but almost all online essential delivery services are expected to deliver more during the period in order to help people confined to their houses.

State authorities are also working to ensure that such companies do not face any hurdles during the 3-week lockdown. Therefore, it is likely that the delivery of essential goods like groceries will resume by Wednesday.