'Don't stop home delivery service, allow shops to open'

Don't stop home delivery services, allow shops to open 24X7: Delhi govt

 Representative image. (Credit: Reuters Photo)

Amid complaints of harassment of delivery boys and those out to buy essential goods during the lockdown, Delhi government on Tuesday instructed police not to prevent operation of e-com services while allowing shops engaged in selling groceries, medicines and vegetables among others to remain open round the clock.

On the first day of the lockdown, delivery boys of e-com operators had faced trouble with policemen on picket not allowing them to travel while some complained about being beaten up. Several customers had complained about their orders for essential items being cancelled as delivery boys could not travel.

Supplies to grocery, vegetable and fruit shops were also affected in some places, prompting the authorities to step in announcing a helpline and nodal officer to deal with such problems and issuing e-passes.

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At a meeting chaired by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it was also decided that Sub Divisional Magistrate and Assistant Commissioners of Police will ensure that all grocery, vegetable, ration and medical shops remain open in the area and they have enough supply.

"The lockdown was effective. We have now allowed online services or e-com services to function. Police has issued orders regarding this," Baijal said in a joint press conference with Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

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Kejriwal said in order to discourage crowding at shops, it has been decided to allow shops and factories and warehouses related to essential services to remain open 24X7 if the shop owner decides so. "They can keep their shops open 24X7 if they wish," he said.

He said police should allow people going out to buy essential goods like groceries and vegetables and should not stop them even if they do not have the pass. Home delivery boys should be allowed upon production of identity cards.

Delhi Police also instructed its officials to sensitise personnel manning pickets to allow people and vehicles of food delivery services like Zomato, consumer chain like Reliance Fresh, More Retail, e-com giants like Flipkart and Amazon, courier services like Blue Dart, DTDC and chains like Big Bazaar and Snapdeal. It has also allowed operations of e-com firms like Jabong and Myntra well as services like Urban Clap.

Earlier, police also suspended a constable posted at Ranjit Nagar Police Station for vandalising vegetable shops during the lockdown.

In Haryana’s Gurugram, which borders Delhi, authorities have now allowed electricians, plumbers, lift technicians and A/C and vehicle mechanics among others, who are required for essential maintenance of residences, apartments, buildings and repair of appliances, free movement either by foot or vehicles.

The order also said TV mechanics, cable TV mechanics, internet service providers, security guards, domestic helpers and sanitation workers will also come under the ambit of the new order.

In a tweet, senior Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "I appeal to Delhi Police and police everywhere to stop this violent harassment. All India Professionals Congress and I are getting reports from around the country of delivery persons and people going out for essential supplies, being beaten with lathis. Controls are okay, violence is not." 

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