Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
"“Like police officers are doing their duty even we have a duty – to ensure people do not go hungry.”" - Nirbhay, Swiggy Delivery Agent
I met Nirbhay and five other delivery agents of Zomato & Swiggy in Sector 104, Noida. It was almost 5pm in the evening. Lunch delivery orders were over by 2pm. And most of them had been waiting here for the last 2-3 hours with the hope that someone will place a food order and they will get to deliver it. The deliveries have come down drastically since the nationwide lockdown began on 25 March.
"Earlier, I used to earn approximately Rs 800. But now I earn Rs 250-300 after working till 11 PM. I work from 7 AM to 11 PM." - Raju Das, Zomato Delivery Agent
Unlike most of us, Raju Das or Nirbhay just cannot afford to sit at home. They have to step out to make deliveries. The orders have come down but at least they are earning something. They are putting their own health at risk to ensure people don’t go hungry and the lockdown proves successful.
"“All our lives are at risk. But if we stay safe and maintain distance from people and stay aware, we can cut down on the risk. Also, our work is such that if we don’t do it people may come out on the streets. If we don’t take food to them they will certainly come out of their homes for food.”" - Jaswant Kumar Zomato Delivery Agent
Raju Das tells me that instead of getting lauded, they are criticised and harassed despite no restriction on the movement of food delivery agents. Delivery agents also come under the category of essential service providers during the lockdown.
"“I showed them (police) the notification allowing food delivery agents to work during lockdown. But they said it is invalid and my motorcycle can get seized and I can be imprisoned for 2 years. We even thought of not continuing delivery but it is our livelihood, we have to do it.”" - Raju Das, Zomato Delivery Agent
Like the doctors and healthcare professionals, the food delivery agents may not be at frontline of the fight against coronavirus. But their role is important to keep people indoors, to make the lockdown work on the ground. And for that, we should thank them, every time the food we ordered gets delivered to our doorstep.
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