Chennai

Corpn. allows online firms to deliver groceries, essentials

An MTC bus ferrying Corporation workers on Wednesday.

An MTC bus ferrying Corporation workers on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Commissioner insists on contactless delivery by staff

The ban on operation of food delivery services such as Swiggy and Zomato has given rise to confusion over whether delivery of groceries, milk and vegetables — through applications such as Big Basket and Amazon Pantry — fall under ‘essential services’.

Several instances of trucks of groceries and vegetables being stopped and delivery executives harassed by the police were also reported.

However, Chennai Corporation Commissioner G. Prakash clarified that delivery operations of groceries and vegetables would be allowed in Chennai on the condition that the staff followed protocols of “contactless” delivery.

Protocols a must

He said that staff of delivery companies should use personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and caps, right from production to delivery.

“No contact delivery should be followed at delivery locations. Companies that break the protocols at any point of inspection will be barred from delivering further,” he said, adding, "companies that break the protocols at any point of inspection will be barred from delivering further."

Working for permission

Sanjay Dasari, whose company Sunny Bee sells and delivers essential farmers’ produce to other businesses and individual customers, said that he was working with local authorities to obtain necessary permits to make it safe for staff and products to be delivered safely by Thursday.

Big players hit

Big Basket and Amazon Pantry online delivery portals informed app users that deliveries had been stopped due to the lockdown and that they were working with authorities to get the services back up.

“We are unable to do non-milk essential deliveries for a few days due to restrictions imposed by authorities on movement of goods and people. There are clear guidelines provided by the government to enable essential services. We are working with relevant authorities to enable operations for the same as soon as possible. Till then, we will be continuing to do milk deliveries,” a notification on the Big Basket application read on Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, several customers of Big Basket and other online essential delivery applications across cities were seen reaching out to local authorities and appealing for the ban to be lifted.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:36:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/corpn-allows-online-firms-to-deliver-groceries-essentials/article31167901.ece

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