Some have been cornered and robbed by gangs
Delivery persons from Swiggy, Amazon and Dunzo are wary of going to the outskirts of Bengaluru in the dark fearing they will be robbed.
Robberies are common in areas like Kengeri because they are dimly lit, thinly populated and have forest patches. “Usually, robbers come in gangs, force you to stop your vehicle and threaten to kill you with a knife if you don’t give up your valuables. My brother was robbed similarly,” Suraj Ramesh, a Swiggy employee, informed The Observer.
“Companies like Swiggy take the responsibility to lodge FIRs, but they don’t do much to help prevent robberies. We don’t get any information regarding the case too,” Ramesh added.
On the other hand, Joga Ram, an ex-employee of Dunzo, said: “When I was robbed, I filed a complaint with Dunzo, but no action has been taken since then. We don’t officially report to the police as filing a complaint takes a lot of time and we work round the clock.”
A pattern can be seen in these robberies: Robbers come in gangs and are armed with knives.
Ravi Kumar, who works at Amazon, shared his horrific experience with The Observer: “Six months ago, I was robbed by a gang in Kengeri. My vehicle was chased.When I stopped my vehicle, I was robbed. My colleague was even threatened with a knife. We prefer not to go in these areas at night.”
In many cases, forgery is involved wherein these gangs go to the extent of faking orders in an attempt to rob delivery workers. “There are times when many hoax orders are placed by these gangs just so they can rob the delivery people. Usually, robbers specifically look for people in delivery uniforms as potential targets,” Ramesh said.
Amazon gives its delivery executives the option of not delivering in ‘Black Zones’,areas located on the outskirts of the city.Regarding this, Joga Ram shared: “If delivery falls in a Black Zone, we choose not to go post-sunset and delay the delivery by one day. We always deliver goods to such places in daylight.”
Swiggy allows its delivery executives to cancel one order per day. They also penalize executives who exceed cross the one-per-day limit. Delivery people from Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo don’t have many options but to deliver to the area they get an order from.
A Swiggy official who did not want to be named said the company has a policy for its delivery executives which involves an in-app feature where, in the event of a robbery or an accident, the delivery person can click on the said grievance(s). The appthen redirects them to a nearby police station or a hospital.
Sub-inspector Vanajakshi from the Kengeri Hobli police station said the station registers one to two robbery cases per month. “After the complainer reports a robbery case, an FIR is registered. We then visit the spot where the incident has taken place to verify the complaint. After investigation, if the robber(s) is caught, we bring the person in for identification.” Valuables are recovered as soon as identification is completed.
Kumar, who works at Swiggy and covers North and East Bengaluru says that he and his colleagues have faced similar incidents in these parts of the city too.
With limited or no policies to safeguard them, delivery workers remain vulnerable.
Under Section 379-A and 379-B of IPC, people who rob others can face imprisonment for no less than 10 to14 years. This, however, only applies to cases that are registered.