Home / News / India /  ‘Another point..’: Anand Mahindra responds to Zepto's stance on 10-minute deliveries

Considering the Indian grocery startups have been working on luring the tech-savvy customers with the promise of deliveries within 10 minutes, it has sparked a boom in "quick commerce", along with it, heated up concerns about road safety as bike riders scramble to meet tight deadlines.

The chairman and MD of Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra had his own point of view to share on the matter. While Anand Mahindra has made it clear that he is not the one to be impressed with 10-minute delivery service adopted by Indian grocery startups, he made sure to give Zepto founder and CEO Aadit Palicha a 'fair' chance to explain his point of view.

Responding to a tweet by Pramesh CS which said, “I don't care how many trolls I get with this tweet, but the 10 minute delivery for grocery is just inhuman to the delivery person. Just stop it! Customers can live with a 2 or even a 6 hour delivery time. @swiggy_in @UberEats," Mahindra tweeted his agreement.

Without much delay, Zepto founder and CEO Aadit Palicha, came to defend the ‘10-minute delivery’ move adopted by the startups, tweeting, “Hi Mr. Mahindra, 10-min delivery is about short distances, not fast speeds :) The avg distance of a Zepto delivery is 1.8 km. To travel 1.8 km in 10 minutes, one has to drive at <15 kmph. That’s why Zepto has 3.1x lower accidents on avg compared to a regular biker on the road."

On his part, Mahindra swiftly responded by tweeting, “Only fair to hear another point of view…"

This comes in the wake of reports stating that even in cities, most roads are riddled with potholes, while cattle or other animals straying into traffic present a frequent challenge for motorists, who often violate basic rules.

Last year, the World Bank said India had a death every four minutes on its roads. Crashes kill about 150,000 people each year.

All the 13 drivers for Blinkit and Zepto whom Reuters interviewed in the key cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Gurugram said they faced pressure to meet delivery deadlines, which often led to speeding, for fear of being rebuked by store managers.

"We get five to six minutes and I feel tense and fear for my life," said one Blinkit driver, who sought anonymity.

In August, Blinkit's chief executive said on Twitter that riders were not penalised and could deliver "at their own pace and rhythm," as dark stores are always near destination sites.

Delivery riders disagreed. In their rush, many of them told Reuters, they mark orders as having been delivered even before they get to the destination. And if a customer complained about the practice, they faced a penalty of 300 Indian rupees ($4.03). 

Zepto has been valued at $570 million and has set its eyes on becoming a $20-billion company, already backed by investors such as U.S.-based Glade Brook Capital. The instant delivery market is a $50-billion opportunity, India's largest offline retailer, Reliance, said this month, when it invested in Dunzo, another Indian startup that runs a 19-minute delivery service.

(With inputs from agencies)

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