Even as e-commerce companies failed to deliver essential goods on Tuesday, local authorities in states Karnataka and Gurugram have put in place processes to streamline the on-ground situation arising due to the nationwide lockdown.
States and city authorities are talking to companies to ensure services are back online, but it could take up a few days before online deliveries for essentials — food, grocery, medical supplies — fall into place.
E-commerce firms have faced issues at the hands of police, despite being exempt from prohibitory orders.
Several companies such as Flipkart, BigBasket, Grofers, and even Amazon Pantry stopped accepting orders on Tuesday as they could not fulfil them. The temporary suspension on services continues in most cases.
The Commissioner of Police in Gurugram in a notification has explicitly said that e-commerce companies are allowed to operate in the city during the lockdown.
The move is expected to result in police action against delivery agents being curbed.
“The following online delivery services Zomato, Flipkart, Amazon, Blue Dart, Wow Express, Swiggy, Grofers, BigBasket, MilkBasket, Dunzo, Big Bazaar, IFFCO Tokyo Goods shall be allowed to operate,” according to the letter signed by Muhammad Akil, Commissioner of Police, Gurugram.
Karnataka’s Police Department also put in place a system to regulate the movement of people across the state. The department said it would issue passes to delivery agents of e-commerce platforms, food aggregators and online pharmacies, and employees of cold storage and warehousing services, to operate during the lockdown.
It said it would issue vehicle passes to goods vehicles to supply of essential supplies are not hindered across the state, as well as for e-commerce platforms which has seen trucks not being allowed to enter the state, cutting off supply.
E-commerce firms said that they were also meeting authorities across cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad which are among the largest markets for their grocery and essential products delivery.
However, there is still a lot of uncertainty among these companies.
“The governments are asking us to give them 2-3 days’ time to implement working protocols for all the things they’ve intended to do,” said a senior executive from an e-commerce firm who was part of discussions with authorities. “The only good thing is that they’re all saying that they’re working to resolve our issues.”