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Kirana stores come to rescue of consumers E-Tailers Struggle To Keep Pace With Demand

April 08, 2020 06:28 AM

COURTESY TOI APRIL 8

Kirana stores come to rescue of consumers
E-Tailers Struggle To Keep Pace With Demand
John Sarkar, Namrata Singh & Udit Prasanna Mukherji TNN

New Delhi/ Mumbai/ Kolkata:

Consumers are at their wits’ end. They wholeheartedly endorsed e-commerce as a new medium of ordering anything and everything including grocery in the pre-Covid days, and now when they’ve got used to a new digital lifestyle, the new medium is struggling to keep pace with deliveries.


On the other hand, the friendly neighbourhood kiranawalla has come to the rescue of many. Not only are the local kirana store owners going the extra mile to ensure consumers get their daily essentials, they are also turning out to be more innovative than their digital counterparts. Take the case of Naren Das, a small kirana shop owner in Kolkata’s Shyambazar area, who has adopted a primitive yet useful way of maintaining supply chain during the lockdown.

Das and family members run the shop, so there is no dearth of manpower. For logistics, he is relying on cycle and handpulled rickshaws. “I am not facing any problem. I do not have e-pass but I keep my trade licence while going to distributors or wholesalers and show it to the police, as well,” said Das.

Ankit Goel, a wholesaler of grocery items in Beliaghata corroborated Das. “Yes, they are coming by cycle, hand-pulled rickshaws and cycle vans to my godown,” he said.

In Delhi’s Kalkaji area, kirana shop owner Suresh Kumar is following the same principle. He rides his scooter to wholesalers to replenish stock. “People have bought enough supplies to last them through the lockdown. Let’s see what happens when it lifts.” Maratha Stores, which caters to a large section of consumers in South Mumbai’s Colaba area, is well stocked, but its manager Santosh Gupta told TOI they face a lot of hurdles in ensuring they do not run out of grocery items. “We do not have passes and we are facing a lot of issues, but we want to make sure no consumer returns empty handed. We have taken it upon ourselves as a social service. I have personally come here to a wholesale market to pick up stocks. But, we get stopped at every other place. During these tough times, we are doing it as a service to the nation,” said Gupta. Lalji Singh, the owner of Bhavani Kirana store of Mumbai, is happy that fresh stock has arrived at his store from the Vashi wholesale market. He said kirana stores buy stock on 12-day credit and if they fail to pay on time, wholesalers charge 2% interest. Singh is putting restrictions on how much a consumer buys from his store. He said he will not allow any one consumer family to hoard so that “every family gets to partake in the stock and sustain”

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