A day after most of the online delivery supply chain was choked as India went into a lockdown mode starting Tuesday midnight, authorities in a few cities have informed e-retail businesses that passes would be given to allow movement of delivery personnel. "Police will soon issue passes to us for movement of goods,” said Albinder Dhindsa, CEO of Grofers.
The decision was taken after representatives of the e-retailers held a meeting with Delhi Police on Wednesday over movement of goods in the city during the lockdown period. Grofers said it grocer had a backlog of about 400,000 orders owing to “hiccups in our operations” over the past few days. “We've adequate supplies, so prices are to remain the same as before," Dhindsa assured customers.
As of Wednesday 11pm, Grofers informed that it has resumed delivery services in some cities, including Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Lucknow, Kanpur and Bengaluru. Whereas in cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Noida, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Mohali, Guwahati, Panipat, Durgapur, Vadodara, Asansol, Sonipat, Rohtak, Bhiwadi, Agra, Meerut, Moradabad, Hapur, Modinagar, Prayagraj and Aligarh, Grofers is trying with the local authorities to get itself listed as an essential services provider and start operations soon.
“We have gone live in a few cities with the help of local authorities. Requesting your patience as we are hopeful of restarting operations in other cities within a day or two. We are in constant touch with local authorities for permissions,” Grofers said in a tweet on Thursday.
However, in Pune and Chennai all its warehouses were shut. “We are not sure when we will be able to start delivering in these cities again. Out teams are trying their best to work with local authorities for their permission in delivering here,” it said. In Chandigarh, it has informed that authorities have refused permission for e-commerce operations during the lockdown period. “There would be, instead, home delivery from the local stores. We request you to kindly order from these stores,” Grofers stated.
Rival BigBasket, in a statement on Wednesday, tried to assure that restrictions on delivery personnel are easing up at least in a few cities such as Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Coimbatore, Indore, Mumbai, Mysore, Noida, Surat and Vadodara. The operations in these cities are getting back to normal, it said. However, in cities like Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Patna, the online grocer is not operational due to severe movement restrictions. “However, we are in the process of getting our operations classified as essential services (in these places),” it said. In Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Ludhiana, Pune and Vizag, the company has not been able to make a breakthrough with the authorities, whereas in Kochi, BigBasket is not delivering due to “operational constraints.”
Meanwhile, BigBasket has informed via Twitter that it has been able to resume operations in Nagpur and Vijayawada.
After suspending all delivery operations Wednesday morning, by evening Flipkart said it would be partially resuming its service. A statement from Chief Executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy said the decision was made after it had been assured safe passage for its supplies and delivery workers by law enforcement authorities. “(We) are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today,” Krishnamurthy said on Wednesday evening.