E-commerce sites can resume operations in TN from Friday but delivery boys remain scared

Speaking to The New Indian Express, delivery staff said they are worried that the police would beat them up. Besides, they fear they could contract the virus.

Published: 26th March 2020 08:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2020 07:42 AM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus, Lockdown, Chennai

Police personnel checking motorists during the lockdown at Chennai. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: After much confusion, e-commerce companies delivering essentials can resume their operations from Friday as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswamy and top police officials clarified that they are allowed to work. However, many of the delivery staff are very hesitant to join work for various reasons.

Speaking to The New Indian Express, delivery people said they are scared that the police would beat them as numerous such videos are doing the rounds on the internet. Besides, they are also scared of contracting the virus since a lot of people are involved in production and delivery and they have to go to areas where quarantine notices are stuck by the city corporation.

"Though we received a nod from the police and we have purchased protective gear for the delivery personnel, a lot of them are hesitant to join. As a reason, we will first begin operations in North and Central Chennai. We will be able to expand it to other areas only after more people join for delivery," a spokesperson from Dunzo told Express.

As of the last update from e-commerce companies on Thursday afternoon on Twitter, Grofers and Big Basket mentioned that they are working with the local authorities for permissions and will begin operations soon. However, their delivery personnel too said they may not return to work.

"One of my friends in Telangana who also delivers essentials for an e-commerce site was bashed up on Wednesday by the police. It is so scary to even step outdoors as this can happen to us. In my area at Adambakkam, I have seen a police hitting a watercan delivery man. If he can be hit, anyone can be hit," said K Ravi, one of the delivery personnel.

Another delivery boy at Purasawakkam, P Kannan, said, "Ever since there has been a positive case from the location, we have been very scared here. For deliveries, we have to go to different areas and I have decided to forgo my salary for my life. Though the firms promise that everyone will be wearing safety gear, we are scared. At least 30 people I know have also decided to stay at home."

Speaking to Express, Chennai city police commissioner A K Viswanathan, clarified that there is no restriction on delivery agents of e-commerce platforms continuing their services. He said, "Delivery agents of e-commerce platforms are not restrained and this order has been clearly told to all the police personnel. We have received a few incidents of police not allowing the agents to ply on roads and that has been addressed. Hereafter, there won't be any restriction imposed on them."

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