At a time when the authorities are taking desperate measures for the effective implementation of the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, hundreds of people from various parts of the country, who are residing in Ahmedabad for job, education, or business, and do not have any cooking arrangement at home, are finding it difficult to manage their square meals.
Notably, many of the outsiders were dependent on food delivery services and eateries operating in their localities. However, post the implementation of the lockdown, food outlets have downed shutters and food delivery services such as Swiggy and Zomato are either not functional most of the time or have limited options to choose from.
Many of them are dependent on milk and bread for their lunch and dinner. However, even managing bread is challenging for them considering the fact that bread in most of the milk parlours is running out of stock.
Similarly, managing water for drinking and cooking is a major challenge for many residents of the city, especially after bottled water suppliers have stopped or curtailed their supply. Due to the unavailability of the 20-litre water jars, people are forced to buy packaged drinking water of 1-2 litres at higher prices.
While the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and the district administration are making tall claims of helping out people, social media is full of posts and comments wherein such people are asking for contacts for food delivery and water suppliers in their area.
A public group called “Put Me In Touch Ahmedabad” on Facebook with over 80,000 members is full of such posts.
A security guard of a prominent society in Vejalpur said: “There are many flats in the society who were dependent on bottled water supply for drinking and cooking. Now, many of the filtrations plants are not operational and people are not getting their usual supply. In fact, people are ready to shell out more than double for 20-litre water jars, but there is a shortage of supply”.
Apart from outsiders, even those having cooking arrangements at home are also finding it difficult to get their usual grocery and vegetables supply. Platforms such as Big Basket and Grofers are unable to manage the demand post lockdown and are forced to cancel orders. In fact, Big Basket has discontinued any fresh customer registration on its platform and is now only catering to their existing customers.
A Big Basket delivery personnel said the company does not have the stock to meet the surge in demand and therefore, many items are out of stock on the platform.
While the online grocery delivery platforms are unable to cater to the requirements of Amdavadis, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra on Saturday informed that sales at 36 stores of Big Bazaar, D-Mart, Osia Hypermart, and Reliance Retail in Ahmedabad have been suspended till further orders. He, however, clarified that these outlets will be allowed to render home delivery service. He also advised people to refrain from visiting these stores.
We have suspended all sales at 36 stores of Big Bazaar, D-Mart, Osia Hypermart & Reliance Retail In #Ahmedabad till further orders.
Home Deliveries are permitted. The decision will be reviewed after they improve Home Delivery mechanisms
Ppl are advised not to visit the stores pic.twitter.com/OWQqjQpdEs
— Vijay Nehra (@vnehra) March 28, 2020
Meanwhile, calls made to Ahmedabad collector and municipal commissioner for a reaction went unanswered.