As Telangana Police tighten lockdown implementation, e-commerce delivery boys suffer

The police came down heavily on delivery boys of Swiggy, Zomato and other e-commerce platforms as part of enforcing the lock down more strictly since Saturday morning.

They were left stranded at police checkposts across the city, with Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar even issuing a ‘warning’ that police will allow only medical emergency vehicles after 10 am from today.

The tough stand of police in the aftermath of instructions by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao at yesterday’s video conference with top brass left residents with no option but to manage their daily life devoid of any e-commerce and home delivery support. Most people in the metro cities depend on home delivery of goods during lockdowns, including essentials like food grains and milk.

Meanwhile the police started barricading roads from 9 a.m. itself, and many reported getting stuck in cascading traffic jams as they were trying to return home before 10 a.m. They got stuck at checkposts and were scolded by police for not reaching home in time.

“I was stuck in traffic because of police barricades from 9 am, and by 10 am cops started harassing me at every checkpoint on the way home. I told them there was a traffic jam because of police barricades from 9 am itself but they would not listen,” a resident of Kondapur said, adding that it was the same in Banjara Hills too.

“They were asking why I did not go out at 6 am and come back home earlier. I told them no shops are opening before 8 am but they scolded me and accused me of making silly excuses. This is the new situation every day as most people in my family and colleagues went through the same,” he said.

“My wife and I started from Secunderabad at 8.30 to reach Malakpet well in time. But, the traffic was the worst today. And we were stopped at 10.20 am and our car was seized. Makes no sense to pay the price for unmanaged traffic which was actually the reason behind us being late,” said Deekshith Vemuganti, who is the marketing head of a private company.

When asked about how we’d go back home after our car was seized, a rude Sub-Inspector responded insolently saying ‘walk your way back home. we don’t care’, he complained.

When contacted, many app-based delivery partners from Zomato, Swiggy, Dunzo and other e-commerce platforms told The Hindu their vehicles were seized after 10 am on Saturday and they were told there is no permission for anyone except ambulances.

The delivery partners had to inform their respective companies, customers and partner stores, all of whom were shocked by the development. Policemen offered no other explanation and insisted that warnings were issued on their social media before implementing the lockdown strictly, delivery executives said.

Police across the State have adopted strong arm tactics against people found on roads in violation of lockdown restrictions since morning, and at many places they used manpower. At Mehdipatnam, Begumpet, Kondapur, Gachibowli, LB Nagar and other areas, the khakis detained the delivery executives and seized their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy himself supervised the implementation of lockdown in the city.

“People should come out only for medical emergencies. All vehicles seized during lockdown will be released only after lockdown is lifted,” Mr. Reddy said. Not only him, but chiefs of three urban police commissionerates – Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda, Anjani Kumar, VC Sajjanar and Mahesh M. Bhagwat, respectively, monitored the situation from ground. They visited several areas in their jurisdiction.

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