Supermarkets extend aid to small-time vendors

Petty shops, barbers, and tailors have had little income during the lockdown

Being one of the few commercial establishments authorised to function during the lockdown period, supermarkets have managed to survive the economic crisis. The Supermarkets’ Welfare Association of Kerala (SWAK) is now trying to share their modest income with the financially backward vendors who are struggling to stay afloat as they have had no income for a month.

The Kozhikode district unit of SWAK distributed foodgrain to 1,000 small-time vendors in different parts of the district in the first phase of its “Vyaparikkoru Kaithangu” scheme.

“The government provides incentives to a large section of the underprivileged. But merchants are not part of any such scheme”, said K.M. Haneefa, district secretary of the association, explaining why SWAK chose to support small-time vendors, including those running petty shops, pan shops, barbers, and tailors who have had little income during the lockdown.

“We have found that the situation of these vendors, especially in the rural belt, is pathetic. They usually have no savings to tide over the situation”, Mr. Haneefa said.

Meanwhile, the supermarkets in the districts are discouraging their customers from dropping in. Instead, they promote home deliveries. “It is the safest way under the circumstances. We take orders on the phone and the customers pay online. Our delivery boys just have to drop the supplies at the customers’ gate”, Mr. Haneefa explained.

An average supermarket handled 20 to 30 deliveries a day, which he said, served to ensure that a large section of people stayed home.

“When customers come down personally, there is a greater chance of them picking up more supplies than they intended, which is beneficial to us. But it is a high risk we are not equipped to take now”, he said.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:52:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/supermarkets-extend-aid-to-small-time-vendors/article31457680.ece

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