Kerala

Tough times for newspaper delivery agents

Misinformation in social media leads to customers cancelling subscription

M. Rajendran, who has been delivering newspapers every morning in the city for over a decade, is facing a tough challenge.

While the country is battling against the coronavirus through a 21-day lockdown, the frontline warriors of the newspaper industry like him have to counter the fears of the citizens that the newspapers could spread the disease.

“We have been delivering the newspaper and periodicals overcoming the inclement climate, hartals and other work pressures, but this is an altogether different situation. I have lost 17 newspapers in three days solely due to this misinformation through social media that newspapers are carriers of the virus,” says Rajendran who has been delivering 320 newspapers daily for 11 years in the Kowdiar, Ambalamukku and Nanthencode localities.

From Kannur

Rajendan, who hails from Iritty in Kannur, says his friend Vijesh who delivers in adjoining Jawahar Nagar, one of the first residential colonies of the State capital, has lost 35 newspapers. It is the educated people who are stopping the newspapers and are not ready to listen, he points out.

In one apartment complex in Kowdiar, the security personnel prevented us from delivering the newspapers at the doorstep and it was handed over at the security checkpoint. “What is the guarantee that it will be delivered to the apartments by them? I fear that whether the other five apartments where I deliver will follow suit in the coming days,” he says.

“We are wearing face masks and gloves and using sanitisers as asked by those in the apartment complexes. We are telling them how newspapers are printed and handled without human intervention and precautions being taken. But, some are not ready to listen and are stopping the newspapers. Stoppage of a newspaper will result in loss of ₹40,” he says. As Section 144 has been imposed in the district, Rajendran says he came prepared with the declaration to be carried by those stepping out as usual at 3.45 a.m. from his home at Vettikonam.

As usual, Rajenderan completed his delivery of newspapers by 6.30 a.m. and was back home in his motorcycle for a quick shower to be at Kalpana Medicals at Peroorkada by 7 a.m. Till 8 p.m., he dons the role of a salesman in the shop and then rushes to be with his wife Revathi and seven-year-old son Varun.

“I don’t fear the virus and all preventive steps are being taken during the delivery of newspapers and while at the shop ,” he says.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:54:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/tough-times-for-newspaper-delivery-agents/article31167608.ece

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