Nima | Gelephu

In less than a week after its set up, the essentials delivery team in Gelephu supplied essential items and vegetables to more than 2,100 households in the thromde.

The orders that are placed by residents through the toll-free number are forwarded to delivery teams in their respective zones. There are five teams manning each zone for the delivery. The supply till doorsteps goes beyond midnight daily.

However, residents said the orders were not delivered home even after waiting for days.

Residents say the essential delivery was swift in earlier lockdowns. Several residents shared their frustrations with the system on various social media groups recently. More frustrations poured in, as the lockdown prolonged.

A resident from Rabdeyling, Gelephu said the calls were not answered and the supply did come after three days. “Maybe orders were delayed, as we fall in red clusters. I tried other toll-free numbers too. The orders were delivered fast in other areas,” he said.

Sonam Tashi from Gelephu said that he did not receive his orders even after waiting for four days. “Vegetables and grocery items supply was better when vendors supplied them. I had to cancel previous orders and place new orders. We’ve children at home,” he said.

A de-suup working at the call centre, Rinchen Zangmo, said it was difficult to find locations without a proper addressing system. Some zones have a large number of households making it difficult for the delivery team to reach essentials on time.

“We try our best here. Calls were attended immediately. The delivery team starts working from 7am till midnight and continues the next day for the remaining orders.   

Supplies from emergency and supplies in the hotspot are delivered immediately,” she said.

She added that the delivery teams were short of vehicles. “It is difficult to take all orders at once. They have to return to the shop again. Maybe the longer lockdown is adding up to their frustrations,” said Rinchen Zangmo.

Twenty de-suups handle calls for essential items, grocery, and vegetables. The orders are punched into the system and supplied within the next day.

A member of the team, Kelzang said the supply of the essential items was swift after the call centre was established on January 25.

“The delivery is time-consuming having to move from door to door. We deliver on a first come first basis. The orders from the same building don’t come at the same time. The delivery team has to visit the same building repeatedly,” he said.

He added that the team ensured orders reach the people as early as possible.

The official said that supply might have been swift in the earlier lockdowns when identified shops were allowed to open in respective zones. Required items were easily available.

According to the official, there was no local transmission in the earlier lockdowns and people gathered around delivery vehicles and at designated shops.

“We activated 1802 so that only teams working in containment mode are exposed. We’re tested every three days. The strategy was to prevent the community from being exposed to the virus. We’ve to follow protocols and try opening as fast as possible,” Kelzang said.

The residents in the need of essential service can call 1802. More than 40 de-suups are involved in essential delivery, including those in the call centre.