BY: Jahangir Sofi
Srinagar: After the Covid-19 pandemic engulfed the Kashmir in March last year, the conventional shopping in the valley got disrupted, pushing the consumers to embrace e-commerce.
In the past year, consumers have switched from shops, supermarkets, and shopping malls to online portals for the purchase of products, ranging from basic commodities to branded goods.
However, the stakeholders associated with the e-commerce and the online service industry in the valley say the Covid-19 lockdowns has badly affected their business, compelling them to close the postal codes for delivery.
“Around 40 per cent of people associated with the industry lost their jobs. However, after the relaxations were announced, with opening of the postal code slots for shipment deliveries, the business showed signs of improvement, but due to active red zone categories the delivery is not possible,” they said.
President Kashmir Courier and Cargo Association (KCCA), Zahoor Ahmed Qari while speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer-(KNO) said that due to back to back Corona lockdowns, online trade and e-commerce have shrunk to 25 per cent now.
However, Qari said with the gradual relaxations in corona lockdown more and more postal codes are being opened, and the business is also gaining momentum.
“Currently, e-commerce is covering 50 per cent in the valley. As of now, around 50 per cent of postal codes are active. We are hopeful by the end of this month we will give 100 per cent delivery coverage in the entire valley,” he said.
Qari said after the authorities imposed the Covid-19 restrictions in the valley, although the e-commerce was exempted at a later stage, “but they had to face of problems while delivering the shipments”.
“Our men were not allowed to move and the authorities were also not allowed to open the office, as the covid-19 situation was surging in the valley, with the result the load was getting piled up. We apprised the authorities about the shipments we receive which comprise of medical products as well,” he said.
“However after the gradual relaxation, we started the services again, and are expecting to gain the momentum once further relaxations are given,” he said.