Hyderabad: Swiggy delivery boys face hardships during night curfew

Hyderabad: Last year, during the COVID-19 lockdown, life was thrown out of gear, as only government officials and those who work in delivering essential commodities were allowed to function. In the ongoing second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Telangana government has imposed a night curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The situation has become peculiar for Swiggy delivery executives, who are currently facing a range of issues as their company has reportedly sought permission to work beyond 9 p.m.

More than one delivery executive Siasat.com spoke to said that in spite of getting permission, they were being subject to police thrashing. One delivery person said that he was “beaten to a pulp” by police officials at Dilsukhnagar, when he went to pick up food. “I still have red marks on my back from the beating. I’m very scared to go to work, especially at night since that day. But I have no choice as I’m the only one to earn for our family,” he added.

Another delivery executive also said that after the Telangana government announced the night curfew first for 10 days last month, they received a message from Swiggy to function in the night post 9 p.m. The delivery executive, who did not want to be quoted, said, “When I complained about this on the app to services anyone, nobody was ready to reply. I have not studied much but I can chat a little bit. I sent them texts saying all this went through that night and they still haven’t responded,” he added.

One more delivery person Siasat.com spoke to also showed a screenshot of an internal communication from Swiggy which said, “Dear Partner, This is to inform you that Police officials have given confirmation that food deliveries can happen after 09:00 PM also. Our Partners are happily delivering the orders without any issues. We have extra surges to support your earnings. Please reach out to us via Connect form/exclusive hotline number to report any curfew restrictions issues….”

And it is not just the fear of policemen that Swiggy delivery executives have to fear. Some of them said that certain areas all over Hyderabad are dangerous to venture out in the night, as there are no street lights to look ahead properly. “There are some black spot areas near Yapral or Kowkoor Dargah, CRP road, where people in group have been subject to attacks by daily wage workers who snatch the food, money and phones we carry,” said one of the delivery persons.

All they are left with is fear. When they complain to the police about this, they are still left hanging, they added. “When it comes to delivering, customers are also not easy to deal with either. They ask to deliver on their doorstep, specially at these times. And if we refuse for our safety reasons, they threaten us or shout at us stating that they will get us fired. Some of them give us the rating ‘unprofessional behaviour’ on the app, which our company takes into consideration and fires people for,” said one of the delivery executives.

‘All this for Rs 650 to 700 a day’

For all the hardships they face, especially since last year’s lockdown and the ongoing night curfew, Swiggy delivery executives say that they get paid less; especially given the fact that they have to work under the scorching sun and also deliver late at night. “We complete more than 23 orders a day and we work 12-13 hours to be paid only Rs 650 or Rs 700 per day. Our company even takes money from us if customers give us bad reviews,” said one of the delivery persons quoted in the story above.