Small town start-up turns into a boon for senior citizens amid pandemic
Silchar, Assam: When the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 was imposed, people were forced to stay inside their homes. However, some people have been able to turn the unfavourable circumstances into opportunities. As residents of Assam’s Silchar were dealing with the pandemic, a group of three entrepreneurs started an online grocery store.
The three co-founders—Subrata Sen, 26, Soumitra Biswas, 26, and Raju Das Choudhury, 31—say that when they launched their service, Daily Bazar, on July 16, their aim was to provide relief to those struggling as a result of the nationwide lockdown. Raju has his own hardware business, whereas Subrata and Soumitra have experience in sales and marketing.
Speaking to 101Reporters, Soumitra mentioned that as the cases of COVID-19 increased, they could see that many people were struggling to go out and even buy daily essentials.
“The idea was simply to reach out to all those people and deliver essential commodities right at their doorsteps,” he added.
They deliver a wide range of household and food items from rice, oil and lentils to even fish and meat. “We are delivering fish to Bengalis as they cannot even go a day without consuming fish,” Soumitra joked.
They have tied-up with different wholesalers in the town, and though they sell their products at market rates, they charge up to Rs 40 for delivery, he added.
With just around 2 months in operation, ratings of the Daily Bazar application on Google Play Store stands at 4.4.
To order from the application, one has to choose the product of their choice, specify the quantity and add it to their “cart” and place the order. A delivery executive would then drive to the person’s doorstep and handover the deliverables. Although they have the cash on delivery option, they insist that their customers use digital payment facilities such as GooglePay, Soumitra specified.
They began with two employees and delivered to six customers, but now they have 14 employees and receive about 150 orders each day, he added.
Soumitra commented that modern technology has solutions to most of our daily woes if used with the right intent and purpose.
Senior citizens delighted
What came as a delight to these young entrepreneurs was that their initiative is popular among senior citizens, who also happen to be the most vulnerable during the pandemic.
Samarendra Bhattacharjee, 68, a retired police officer who also has diabetes, stated that he has been thoroughly impressed with their service and delivery.
The rates are reasonable and the vegetables are of really good quality, he added.
Another customer Mitali Gupta, 65, a retired public sector employee, stated that she wasn’t able to go out as the number of COVID-19 cases rose, but with the help of the application, she can even get meat delivered to her doorstep.
A delivery executive Kishore Ghosh stated that their top priority is to keep their customers safe and for that, they use face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser without fail when out for delivery.
Sumit Sattawan, additional deputy commissioner (health), Cachar district, lauded the initiative. While businesses like Swiggy and Zomato are doing well in big cities, at a time like this when people are hesitating to go outdoors, an initiative like this was much needed, he added.
(The author is Silchar-based freelance journalist and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)