Yesterday, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), set up a control room to monitor, in real time, the status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities as India continues with the 21-day lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. DPIIT has asked e-commerce, manufacturing, distribution companies among others to get in touch via phone or email in case they face any difficulties while delivering goods on the ground.

Companies can call DPIIT on 011-230624487, or email at controlroom-dpiit@gov.in. The telephone number will be functional from 8 am to 6 pm. Issues reported to the DPIIT through the control room will be raised with concerned state governments, districts and police authorities and other concerned agencies, Arun Mahendru Balraj, senior development officer at DPIIT, said in the order.

DPIIT’s order came as several e-commerce companies in India, including Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers and BigBasket, had either put a hold on operations, or were otherwise inaccessible a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown. This happened despite the Home Ministry exempting  e-commerce delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, from the 3-week long curfew. In fact, some e-commerce companies claimed that local authorities were forcing them to stop deliveries, or that their staff on the ground was heckled by local police.

Gurugram yesterday ordered police officials on the ground to allow a handful of e-commerce companies to operate in the city, while Hyderabad said that e-commerce companies can obtain passes in order to operate in the city.

Read more about e-commerce operations during the 21-day lockdown here.