Outrage after food delivery boys stopped, vehicles seized

Union demands return of vehicles, action against companies

Delivery executives on Saturday were stopped at various checkpoints in the city and their vehicles seized. Some were even allegedly assaulted by police, who seemed to enforce a strict lockdown.

The delivery executives, including those from food aggregators Zomato and Swiggy, were stopped at checkpoints near the Rythu Bazaar in Mehdipatnam, Road Number 12 Junction in Banjara Hills and Khairtabad, among other locations.

Several video clips and images surfaced on social media with the issue quickly becoming viral. Social media users expressed anguish at how these delivery executives were being treated, and pointed to ‘xvii’ under ‘Permitted Activities’ of GO MS 102 allows e-commerce, which includes ‘delivery of goods and merchandise including food’.

Explaining the ordeal, a Zomato delivery executive said, “The police are unnecessary stopping and penalising us. We are being asked to show documents. They seized our vehicles. The company sent us permission letters. We didn’t get any word from the company not to take orders. We are delivering orders to COVID patients, risking infection. Despite this, we are being treated this way.”

The issue was taken up by the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union. Its State president Shaik Salahuddin stated that delivery executives received no prior communication from aggregators about the restriction in service and claimed that the aggregators stopped taking orders after police began to stop delivery workers.

“It is because of these companies that drivers are suffering. If they didn’t have permission to operate, respective company apps should have been closed. This wouldn’t have put delivery workers in such a situation. We demand the government take action against the companies,” he said, adding that fines imposed on delivery executives be either waived off, or be imposed on companies. He also demanded that seized vehicles be returned immediately.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi also demanded that seized vehicles be immediately returned.

He tweeted, “G.O on lockdown in Telangana clearly states that food delivery is permitted. Why are delivery personnel being detained then? They must be released along with their vehicles immediately. These are poor youths trying to get by”.

He also mentioned that in case the State government has decided not to permit food delivery, the GO should be amended.

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