Lucknow, April 1 (IANS) Flour is in short supply, fresh leafy vegetables have virtually disappeared, bread is off the shelves and the disruptions in the supply chain are now taking the toll on life in lockdown.
While the government doorstep delivery is yet to reach the common man, there has been some relief for consumers as online services like Swiggy and Zomato started supplying selected grocery essentials and milk products since Monday.
Shelves are half empty in most grocery stores that are open.
“We are running short of flour because flour mills have shut down in the absence of workers. The situation is similar in the supply of other grocery items. The police are not allowing trucks to enter the district and wholesale and our stocks are running out,” said a shop owner in the Hazratganj area.
Some of the shop keepers have now decided not to open their shops because the police are not allowing their workers to come to work.
“I am 72-years-old and I cannot weigh and carry weight. The police is not allowing my two workers to come to the shop so it is better to keep it closed,” said Roop Kumar, a shop owner in Mahanagar area.
Lucknow District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash had claimed that “Over 9,200 households would be supplied ration, fruits and vegetables through home delivery by private service providers from Sunday.
The online service providers like Swiggy and Zomato are charging hefty amounts for delivery.
“I purchased dairy items for Rs 170 and ended up paying Rs 240 which included delivery charges. I cannot afford to pay such high rates for delivery,” said Swayam Prakash, a young techie.
Vegetables sellers in other districts are also upset at the fact that the government has failed to regulate the supply chain.
“We cannot store vegetables. The supply chain is not robust and fresh vegetables are not coming in on a regular basis,” said Babu Khan, a vegetable seller in Prayagraj.
The online stores identified by the state government for making deliveries of essential commodities are also making their own rules.
Neha Upadhyaya, a home maker, said she was refused delivery by an online store on the grounds that her order was too ‘small’.
“The government is telling us not to indulge in panic buying so I placed an order for five kilograms of what flour and two kilograms of dal. The store rudely informed me that they were undertaking only bulk orders,” she said.
Neha further said that the term ‘essentials’ is being misinterpreted by online stores.
“They are not including shampoos, toothpastes and moisturisers in the orders because they feel this is not ‘essential’. How do we explain to them that one cannot live without a shampoo or a toothpaste?”, she asked.
The government has allowed around 62 outlets of 13 retail and online supermarkets for home delivery in the city.
The medicine market is also witnessing a shortage of medicines, especially insulin that is transported in a cold chain.
Rita Srivastava, a diabetic patient in Kanpur, said that she has not been able to take insulin shots since the past three days because of its non-availability.
“I called the helpline but they, too, could not find insulin. I have cut down on my diet and my doctor is giving oral medicines to compensate, but I do not know how long I will last like this,” she stated.