At a posh residential complex in Kolkata, gaining entry for delivery persons is almost like entering a fortress. Names are noted down twice, two-wheelers have to be parked outside, and after walking for about one-kilometre and taking a separate service lift can they finally reach the customer. All this for every order to the South City Residency Towers 3 & 4 in south Kolkata’s Prince Anwar Shah Road.
“Delivery boys have not been allowed entry with their vehicles inside the premises for a couple of months now. The authorities put this blanket ban on allowing delivery persons with their two-wheelers because there were isolated incidents of overspeeding by a few of them. They are also made to take the service lift, which is ridiculous. Is this a way to not be seen with people who belong to economically backward sections?” Arka Ganguly, who red-flagged this discriminatory rule, tells InUth.
This discriminatory rule has not just irked Sengupta. Hondo’s (a restaurant at Prince Anwar Shah Road in south Kolkata) put up a Facebook post on Wednesday. “We are NOT delivering to SOUTH CITY RESIDENCY TOWER 3 & TOWER 4. The reason is very simple. The new rule of that apartment complex states that the delivery executives must keep the 2 wheelers at the main gate and walk all the way, which is approximately a kilometer or more, then do the deliver. The double entry of names or the separate elevators (as mentioned by Arka Ganguly a resident of the same complex, who detests the rule), are not even this ridiculous…. We can’t abide by this inhuman rule where a resident or a guest can take their vehicle inside and the hard working people, who work their sweat off, in heat, rain, day and night, would just have to walk a kilometer or two, because of some stupid discriminatory rule. So, people living in those 2 buildings, please call us only if you are coming down to the gate.” (sic)
Swarnaditya Das, the owner of Hondo’s, told InUth, “As soon as it was brought to our notice that the delivery persons are being made to jump through so many hoops in order to deliver the food, we decided to take a stand and stop accepting orders from the residential complex. We don’t want to be associated with any sort of discrimination towards the delivery persons, who work really hard throughout the day.”
The plight of delivery persons was recently highlighted after a Facebook user pointed out how delivery persons are made to carry huge bags on their shoulders with crates of products. The user, Saurabh Trivedi, marked the online grocery and food products provider in the post along with a few pictures on May 25.
However, Sujit Som, property manager of South City Residency Towers denied the allegations saying, “There are no such rules for delivery persons. There are designated parking facilities for people who come to deliver anything to the apartment complexes. I am not sure who made this complaint, but it is definitely not true.”
Earlier this week, InUth published a story after speaking to three service providers from Big Basket, Urban Clap and Grofers, who narrated their ordeal of carrying heavy bags to apartments that sometimes don’t even have lifts. Recurring backaches to issues with posture, this profession takes a toll on their health. They also talked about how they are subject to harassment, not only by their employers but by customers.
This episode is another case of harassment that delivery persons have to endure. Soon after the post was made by the restaurant, several netizens came out in support of their decision.