Coronavirus has claimed 13 lives across India and the number of active cases has now surged up to 593. In order to curb the spread of the virus, PM Narendra Modi called for a 21-day national lockdown in his address to the nation on Tuesday. The first day of the lockdown came with a lot of confusion and panic-buying. People started hoarding on essential commodities, many stores as online grocery delivery apps were also refused permission to deliver. As a result of the perplexities, govt is taking some steps to ensure that all the essential services and items like food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, milk, and animal fodder are made available to people.
The govt has now set-up state-wise control rooms and district-level helplines to make sure everyone's query with regard to the availability of essential services and items is answered. Chief secretaries and DGPs of all states have been notified by the Home Ministry to continue the production and transportation of all the items that do not come under the prohibitory orders. Nodal officers have also been appointed to avoid panic and ensure the availability of all required items.
All the online retailers that deliver groceries had suspended services after multiple delivery boys across India were beaten up by cops. However, the centre made it quite clear to the state governments yesterday that grocery and food delivery firms should be allowed to operate without any restrictions. As a result of this, online shopping and delivery services available on Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, BigBasket, and Dunzo are now back online. Only essential items will be delivered as of now in order to avoid a large number of orders and burdening delivery agents working on the ground. The e-commerce delivery executives will also be given identity cards that will be issued to them by the companies. They can use these cards as a pass for them to be allowed by the cops to commute during the lockdown.
CEO of Flipkart, Kalyan Krishnamurthy took to twitter and wrote, "We are grateful for the clarification provided by the government and local state authorities on the functioning of e-commerce during the lockdown. We are resuming our grocery services today. India, we are committed to serving you at this time. Thank you for your trust."
List of cities Grofers has resumed services in (as on 11 pm, March 24)
Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, and Bengaluru. On the other hand, Grofers is trying with the local authorities to get itself listed as an essential services provider in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Noida, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Mohali, Guwahati, Panipat, Durgapur, Vadodara, Asansol, Sonipat, Rohtak, Bhiwadi, Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Hapur, Modinagar, Prayagraj, and Aligarh.
List of cities BigBasket has resumed services in:
Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysore, Noida, Surat, Vadodara, Nagpur, Vijaywada. The company hasn't been able to connect with local authorities in cities like Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Pune, and Vizag.
List of cities Flipkart has resumed services in:
Flipkart has reportedly restarted in Bengaluru. The company is also in touch with Bangalore Police to ensure zero-harassment of delivery boys. It aims to resume services in Delhi and NCR today. They are also in talks with authorities in Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad to kickstart delivery of groceries through its Supermart.
Apart from this, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also announced that grocery stores in the city will be allowed to operate 24x7 during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also asked senior officials to ensure door-to-door delivery of essential items. This step has been taken in order to help people stay indoors for the success of the nationwide lockdown. The U.P Govt has, therefore, sanctioned 12,133 delivery vehicles, including vans, e-rickshaws till now to make sure people feel assisted and catered to. The U.P Govt is also contemplating on starting a community kitchen to supply food to labourers and poor during the lockdown. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases has shot up to 36 in the state.
The number of total cases has surged up to 35 in the national capital with five new coronavirus cases within a span of just 24 hours. In order to curb the city-wide panic, CM Kejriwal's AAP govt has decided to issue e-passes to people delivering essential services. The passes make it easier for them to commute. "People ensuring essential services such as milk sellers, vegetable vendors and grocers can call helpline 1031 to get the passes on their mobile phones through WhatsApp," said Kejriwal. Wow, now that's some techno-way to assist people in times of crisis.
While the govt is doing the best it can, the onus also falls upon us to act as responsibly as we can and cooperate as much as we can during the 21-day lockdown period. #StayHomeStaySafe
Featured Image: Twitter