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Swiggy could shut many of its cloud kitchens, lay off over 500 workers as sales slump

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New Delhi: Online food delivery platform Swiggy is likely to shut around half of its cloud kitchens and lay off nearly 500 to 900 employees in this division who are mainly contractual workers.

A cloud kitchen is a delivery-only property that accepts orders through online ordering and offers no dine-in facility.

Cloud kitchens are said to be a good business model for food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato. But due to the coronavirus outbreak, operating these kitchens have become difficult.

The layoffs are said to take place next month from the cloud kitchens across 10 tier 1 and tier 2 cities, which operate Swiggy-owned Homely and The Bowl Company.

Even though food delivery has been regarded as an essential service during the Covid-19 lockdown, many restaurants and cafes have either shut down or reduced their services. This, in turn, has impacted Swiggy’s delivery systems.

According to Entrackr, which had first reported about Swiggy’s lay-offs, 40 per cent job cuts will be done on the basis of an annual performance review.

“As the lockdown gets further extended, we are evaluating various means to stay nimble and focused on growth and profitability across our kitchens. These include renegotiating contracts with landlords, relocation of certain kitchens to more optimal locations and discontinuing operations at a few kitchens that have been severely impacted since the lockdown came into effect,” the report quoted a Swiggy spokesperson as saying.

The spokesperson added: “This will, unfortunately, have an impact on a certain number of kitchen staff who will be fully supported during this transition.”


Also read: Amazon is hiring 75,000 more employees to keep up with coronavirus-induced consumer demand


No delivery in 300 cities

The Bengaluru-based food delivery startup has not considered pay cuts for the rest of its employees, according to reports, but has told staff that there won’t be any appraisals this year.

Swiggy is also not handling food delivery in close to 300 tier 3 and 4 cities due to various challenges due to the nationwide lockdown. However, it has begun delivery of grocery items and other essential services. As has its rival Zomato.

The Covid-19 lockdown in India was extended to 3 May on 14 April by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curb the spread of Covid-19. The global pandemic has so far infected more than 19,000 people in India and claimed 600 lives.


Also read: India has 2 of Asia’s 50 best restaurants, but it’ll be a while before you can dine there


 

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India

Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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