Thursday, December 8

Kolkata: Neighbourhood shops, fish vendors keep their clients safe and deliver to doorsteps

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Competing with online platforms and in an effort to stay in business amid pandemic-induced restrictions, many local grocery, fruit and vegetable and fish and chicken stores have shifted gear and started delivering their goods to doorsteps. These neighbourhood shops, which usually have a regular clientele, have been taking orders on phone and reaching all the items—sometimes, even of very low value, like a packet of noodles or a bottle of sauce—to homes within an agreed-upon period.
Manoj Kumar Pasari, a chartered accountant who lives on Cornfield Road, has been getting all the groceries home-delivered from his favourite Punjab Stores. “I dictate him all the items over phone the previous night and by 7am, the goods are at my doorstep. If anything goes missing, they send again,” he said, adding Shakeel Fruits, a vendor on Broad Street, delivered milk, bread, fruits and frozen vegetables, too, within half-an-hour of calling them.
To manage all the deliveries on time, shops have employed youths to tackle the growing demand. Ratan Sarkar, who owns a grocery store on Swinhoe Lane, has taken in four men to serve the Kasba neighbourhood. “A large number of senior citizens live in this area and they are happily ordering from me, now that going to malls and supermarkets has become difficult,” he said. Subol Pal, who has been selling fish at Dumurjala in Howrah for 40 years, has been delivering fish to his clients’ home. He has also employed some boys who has been reaching the fish on their cycles. “I have actually seen a jump in sales in these difficult times,” Pal said.

For 73-year old Rina Ghosh, a resident of Lake Gardens, her Abha Stores and “Suresh er dokaan” can do what the big super markets can’t. “They are ready to bring any item that I order and even allow me to check the goods before I pay. I love the personal touch with which the essentials come home and am happy to be part of the livelihood ecosystem in these times,” said Ghosh, referred to as “mashimaa” in the area. The sentiment is echoed by Sumitra Ray, a retired teacher who lives at BF Block in Salt Lake. Hanuman Stores in CF Block has been catering to her needs. “We don’t have to lift a finger other than to dial the number and place the order. The delivery is prompt and we get a good discount on the MRP,” she said.

Many fish sellers with stalls in markets across the city have started home delivery. There’s a huge demand for local catch these days and many vendors are visiting neighbourhoods, leaving their numbers at homes. “I am ordering my rui-katla, prawn, along with the local catch of parshe, tyangra and bata, from my fish seller, Sanjit, by calling him on phone. He delivers the fish, cut and cleaned,” said Luna Bhowmick, a resident of EC Block in Salt Lake.

Source: Times of India

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