Bhubaneswar: An Odia couple residing in China has been providing doorstep delivery of groceries and vegetables to residents in the Twin City and neighbourhood through their Bhubaneswar-based online store during the COVID-10 lockdown.
Bijaya Kumar Mohanty and his wife Sonalika thought of launching the ecommerce platform — www.BigBFreshStore.com — after a visit to their native place of Niali in Cuttack district during Cyclone Fani last year.
Now, amidst a lockdown in Tianjin where they live, the couple is addressing the needs of people back home. Bijaya, an engineer in a state-run Chinese company, was in Odisha when Fani struck and realised the scarcity of essential goods can be enormous, according to a report in the New Indian Express.
“I returned to China with an urge to serve the people of Niali. After contacting a local grocery store in Bhubaneswar and my brothers, I was able to get essential food items delivered to 150 persons as an act of charity. That’s when the idea of setting up an online grocery store struck me,” Bijaya said.
Sonalika has also joined her husband in the endeavour. She attends to customer calls from India and chalks out delivery plans. Then, Bijaya’s three brothers and retired father here take care of the procurement of items and delivery. They procure the groceries from local distributors and vegetables from an organic farm in Jajpur.
“There are no other delivery staff. But I am ready to pay people to continue the service or even volunteers,” said Bijaya.
The parents of a four-year-old child, Bijaya and Sonalika had been staying indoors for 60 days since January 24 when lockdown was declared during the Chinese New Year. It’s only been three days that Bijaya is back to work, wearing mask and gloves, while maintaining social distancing.
Speaking from her personal experience during the lockdown in China, Sonalika now encourages her family and relatives in India to take up creative tasks, read books and make conference calls to friends to relieve stress.