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Retailers complain of delay in e-passes, warn of shortages

Retailers complain of delay in e-passes, warn of shortages

Traders and retailers dealing in essential items, who have been exempted from the 21-day lockdown, are finding it difficult to get e-passes to be able to move freely. While the Centre made it clear that the supply of essential items including medicines, vegetables, grocery, milk and milk products, and even delivery of cooked food will not be disrupted, many state and local authorities have failed to follow up with this.

Many traders in the national capital region have faced difficulty even in accessing the website to apply for the e-pass. Not just that, it often takes about three-four days for the authorities to issue the pass and in a few cases, they have been rejected, leading to disruption in supply.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that despite the difficulties faced by the retailers dealing in essential goods, wholesale traders are doing their best to keep the supply chain intact.

The near collapse of the transport system in may parts of the country has also led to additional problems for the retail sector. “This is making it very difficult for us to get the supplies and restock,” a grocery store owner in Gurgaon said. Worse, they have to make do with skeleton staff. According to CAIT, a large number of migrant workers who had been engaged by shop assistants have gone to their native villages. However, many who have chosen to stay put are reluctant to come to work because of fear of the killer coronavirus.

According to CAIT, transport facility has got disrupted due to the non-availability of drivers. “In such a situation, smooth operations at the end of traders dealing in essential goods is almost a challenging task,” it said in a statement.

CAIT estimated the overall loss in the Indian retail segment the last 15 days to be around $30 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced a 21-day lockdown to break the chain of transmission of the deadly virus. India has reported over 3,000 coronavirus cases as of now..