In a bid to survive amid the Covid-19 pandemic and adapt to the new normal, nearly 16.00.000 hawkers in West Bengal are all set to take their business from the sidewalks to the cyberspace.
Struggling to earn their livelihood on the streets as people are not buying their commodities fearing infection, they have decided to make it contactless by coming up with a mobile application and a website with which customers will be able to buy from them and get the products delivered to their doorsteps.
The initiative is aimed at ensuring social distancing for both customers and hawkers. While customers will not have to risk infection by going to crowded markets, the hawkers also will be safe from coronavirus as the products will be delivered using bicycles. The deliveries will be made by the family members of the hawkers.
Led by the Hawker Sangram Committee, the initiative will provide customers with the facility of seeing which hawker is selling which commodity at what price by using the mobile application. They will also be able to compare the price with other hawkers. The customers will get to know which hawker is doing business in which locality. The entire operation will be run by the West Bengal State Hawker Cooperative Society.
So far about 840 hawkers have registered with the cooperative and about 2000 applications are awaiting approval. Cooked food, vegetables and groceries can be purchased through the application. Speaking to DH, Saktiman Ghosh, secretary of the Hawker Sangram Committee said that the application will be launched by Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim on August 26.
He also said that to maintain hygiene emphasis will be given on packaging and mainly women will be given training for the purpose. The initiative has been undertaken by Qlikchain India.
Ayon Hazra, CEO of Qlikchain said that they have set up blockchain with which hawkers will be able to directly purchase organic vegetables from farmers at lucrative prices.
Soumya Das, DHNS, Kolkata
Great to see founder Ayon Hazra taking blockchain, access to organic, chemical free and poison free food to masses!