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Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Tuesday launched a pilot project for people to order essential goods either by calling over the phone or using WhatsApp during the lockdown put in place to break the chain of coronavirus infections.

State administration officials said the project was to ensure that nobody violated the lockdown by stepping out to get essential goods including vegetables, groceries or medicine.

The pilot project has been launched in Bengaluru and people can call on 080 61914960 and provide necessary details like their name, phone number and address and specify a nearby store from which they want the items.

The service will be provided through neighbouring kirana stores or the nearest store which has those particular goods in stock. After placing the order, customers will get a confirmation on SMS and a delivery partner will deliver the goods, payment for which can be made either through e-wallets, cards or cash.

The service is similar on WhatsApp.

The government believes that this would help not only those struck at home but also elderly. There is a nominal service charge of Rs 10 for each order and contactless delivery is possible.

With the initial test run being done in Katriguppe and a few other localities of south Bengaluru, some of the customers said they are thankful for the service.

“With the lockdown in force, earlier getting things was a challenge but now is now much easier,” Suma, a housewife from Girinagar, said.

 

However, some complained the service was slow and it takes hours and others said specific brands ordered were not available.

A government official said they are working with delivery partners to ensure this is improved over the next few days. The administration also intends to scale this up if this experiment succeeds, the official added

“The intention is to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as Bangalore has 19 hotspots and thanks to an effective seal down, there has hardly been any new case in the city over the last few days,” the official, who did not want to be identified, said.

 

Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister Suresh Kumar said the state registered 10 new positive cases taking the cumulative total to 418 which includes 17 deaths and 129 discharges.