ISO 9001:2015 Certified
closex Call Us 11-23320714, 23721504, ficci@ficci.com

 Upcoming Event
to forge a partnership on Technology Commercialization Initiative, FICCI-AMITY and IC2 Institute University

E-grocers approach PMO for clearance to operate 

The Times of India , Mar 25, 2020

Consumers are seeing delays or cancellations in online orders of essential goods amid the lockdown as delivery companies face issues with local authorities and their delivery staff fear for their safety.

Top executives at these firms, along with the help of industry bodies like FICCI and CII, escalated issues to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and state governments, with hopes that operations will start stabilising and orders will get fulfilled from Wednesdays.

Grofers said it had to reschedule orders to over 2.6 lakh households and its six warehouses were shut down, Bigbasket saw about 45,000 orders getting cancelled on Monday, and 65,000-70,000 orders on Tuesday. “A lot of work has happened (in the past 12 hours), we should be done with all the clearances in a day and then it’s just clearing the backlog. Mumbai finally got sorted, while Bengaluru - our largest city - is almost clear now. Telangana is work-in-progress but things are moving fast now,” said Bigbasket CEO Hari Menon. Bigbasket was clocking 2.8-3 lakh orders per day owing to the unprecedented rise in demand.

Bigbasket’s operations were shut in Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Patna, Pune, and Kochi on Tuesday upon being asked to do so by local authorities, while delivery boys were roughed up in Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Menon said all of these are set to open cities will open soon. Among its six warehouses, Grofers saw its Faridabad centre shutdown impacting 20,000 households. “Local administration has responded to our request about opening the Faridabad warehouse. We think we may be able to sort that by midnight. Otherwise, the number of impacted households because of the delay in deliveries would rise to 3 lakh,” he said.

“The top government officials, including the PMO, were updated on the issues on the ground through associations like FICCI, CII. Owing to that, the centre is issuing notices to states to adhere to the orders and treat online platforms delivering goods as essential service,” said a person aware of the matter. The ministry of electronics and IT also issued a circular to state governments on Tuesday to allow e-commerce companies to operate.

About 79% of consumers were not able to find essential goods on online delivery platforms over the last two days, as compared to 35% on March 20-22, according to a survey of 12,500 consumers on Local Circles. Even offline retail stores are running out of stock as unavailability of essentials increased to 32% from 17% during the same period. This comes as retail stores across the country have seen lines of people as items like bread, dairy products and noodles go out of stock.

On Friday, the consumer affairs ministry had urged all state and local governments to exempt e-commerce operations, including their warehousing and logistics facilities and services, from shutdown but these companies have been facing issues in delivering essential goods local authorities stop delivery personnel and shut down fulfillment centres throughout the country.