Grofers
Grofers

As the number of people infected by the novel coronavirus crossed 400 on Monday and India went into a state of lock-down, people have begun stockpiling groceries and other essential items.

This in turn is leading to a shortage in available supplies. In many parts of the country, people were spotted throwing social distancing norms out of the window, flocking in droves to the nearest market.

Others took the online route to preparing for a complete lock-down. This however has stressed online vendors such as Grofers who now say that they are facing difficulties in meeting orders as officials called for warehouses to be shut and trucks and delivery partners were stopped by the police.

On Sunday, the company's founder, Saurabh Kumar took to Twitter to write that they were "having a lot of trouble getting essentials to people who need them", citing "harassment by police and local goons".

The post came during the Janata Curfew that was observed in the country on Sunday. The problem however does not seem to have abated even on Monday.

On Monday afternoon, Kumar again took to Twitter to point out that groceries were considered an essential service and thus did not fall under the purview of the lock-down.

Criticising "overzealous enforcement agencies" for harming the "proactive initiatives" of the government, he said that the company was working to fix the issue.

"Despite assurances that grocery is an essential service and @grofers should continue to operate, police and local authorities continue to shut warehouses," he wrote.

"Grofers warehouses cater to 5000 to 10000 orders daily so for every facility that gets shut we risk that many households venturing out for grocery buying. Hoping sense prevails here," he added.

On Sunday, the government had released a press note stating that while several districts would be put under a state of near-complete lockdown, essential services would continue to function.

For this intent and purpose, essential services include food and grocery stores.

Additionally, hospitals and chemist shops are exempt from the lock-down restrictions as well as banking services, e-commerce operations, cooking gas suppliers an communication services. In many places transportation services have been curtailed, even though this falls under the essential list.

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