'Allowing e-commerce services unfair to us'

Updated: May 24, 2020, 07:39 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Bombay Booksellers' and Publishers' Association writes to govt, says traditional shop owners suffering most

The state has currently relaxed regulations for home deliveries
The state has currently relaxed regulations for home deliveries

The Bombay Booksellers' and Publishers' Association (BBPA) has objected to e-commerce platforms delivering goods to people during the lockdown. The association has written a letter to the government complaining that not only is it causing them huge loss because of unfair treatment, it is also dangerous, as the delivery process includes human intervention and so the possibility of infection.

In the current phase of the lockdown, online orders and home deliveries haves been allowed for many e-commerce platforms. According to the BBPA, these online services deliver all kinds of goods, including essential and non-essential items, and this is unfair to traditional shop owners, who are following government regulations by keeping their businesses closed.

'Unfair to us'
The BBPA, on Thursday wrote a letter to the government of Maharashtra, explaining their concerns. "E-commerce platforms have been given permission to deliver non-essential items even in red zone designated areas. This decision is causing a lot of heartburn among the traditional trading community who have been diligently following the orders despite facing economic hardship. They feel that it is not a level playing field where competing e-commerce players are allowed to deliver all types of goods while traditional shops have to remain closed in red zone designated areas (sic)," reads the letter, which further clarifies, "The last mile delivery of e-commerce players is through person to person contact. Thus the threat of spreading the COVID-19 virus is the same for both online as well as offline platforms.

Hence, the offline players feel disheartened and excluded from the government plan to jumpstart the stalled economic activities in the red zone designated areas. Hence we request your office to either stop E-Commerce platforms from delivering non essential goods to Red zone designated areas or allow traditional brick and mortar shops to open so that they can start working towards recovery of economic activities (sic)."

'Government must listen'
President of the BBPA, Narendra Nandu, said, "This is clearly unfair to traditional traders, while the risk of infection is almost the same in most cases. Just as we have, other traditional traders such as garment businessmen have written to the government on the same lines. We hope the government pays attention to the issues raised by us."

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