A MeeBuddy executive delivering order to a customer Credit: EastMojo image

Tinsukia: As the country enters its second day of the nationwide lockdown over coronavirus pandemic, a digital app launched by the district administration of Lohit — a remote district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh — is turning out to be key player in keeping the citizens inside their homes by delivering them their essential goods and services at their doorstep.

On Thursday, two days after the launch, MeeBuddy successfully executed over 90 orders in 12 villages including Tezu town.

MeeBuddy dashboard showing current status

A satisfied customer of MeeBuddy, Heymu Lohorung, told EastMojo, that he had placed an order for sugar, coffee, potatoes and onions and the same were to be delivered to him in 1 hour. “However, to my surprise, I received three of my ordered goods except potatoes in 30 minutes right at my doorstep. I was so happy,” he added.

MeeBuddy’s order on website dashboard

Lohit is a remote area and most e-commerce websites don’t have delivery network in the region. “Had this app not been there, I would have been left with no choice but to step out of my home to procure sugar at least, and it might have put my health at risk, who knows,” Lohorung said, adding, “I am so glad that my district administration used technology to provide us essential goods and services even without letting us step out.”

“In fact, seeing pictures coming from various parts of the country showing essential goods shops, vegetable and fruit vendors overcrowded with customers left me wondering that if a remote district like mine can launch such an app and connect all logistics needed to supply essential goods and services to citizens, to stop them come out during lockdown period, in no time, then why can’t the other districts follow this model?” he questioned.

After all, we are dealing with one of the worst health emergencies the world has seen. “Thinking out of the box is the need of the hour,” he added.

Lohorung said that the only concern is that not many people are aware of this initiative launched to help us in the lockdown, adding, “However, the positive side is at least those aware need not step out of their homes which will reduce footfall in essential good shops like grocery, vegetables and pharmacy.”

“I have forwarded the link of this app to everyone in my contact list so they can be benifitted and our district remains safe,,” he added.

Talking to EastMojo, deputy commissioner of Lohit, Prince Dhawan, said that at present they are covering district headquarters Tezu and villages in the 10 km radius surrounding Tezu. “Efforts are being made to extend to new areas,” he said.

“MeeBuddy may not be able to stop everyone from coming to the markets to procure essential goods, but it has definitely reduced the footfall of number of people thronging such shops for sure, which is the need of the hour,” Dhawan added.

Dhawan said, “Fifty per cent of the orders received so far are from Tezu while rest are from surrounding villages.”

“I appreciate the district administration’s effort to think one step ahead for us. This app is very useful and goods are being sold at very reasonable rates with quality assurance. I procured potatoes at Rs 25 per kg, onions at Rs 40 per kg, Amul packed milk of 1 litre tetra pack for Rs 64, besan for Rs 80 per kg. Fruits are also available,” Biplab Roy, another would-be customer from Tezu, added. Roy turned out to be officer-in-charge of fire service in Tezu when EastMojo spoke to him.

Roy said, “I have installed the app so that I can order online whenever need arises. I need to be on duty since I fall under emergency services category and with this app my family would not need to venture out.”

The essential goods and services available on MeeBuddy include groceries, vegetables, fruits, branded foods, breakfast and snacks, household products, personal & beauty care, baby care products, school & office supplies, restaurant items, computer services, electrical services, plumbing services, carpenter services and bike.

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