The fast-moving consumer goods companies and eretailers said they are producing only the essential items at their manufacturing units amidst 21-day national lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Amazon.com Inc’s India unit and Walmart Inc’s Flipkart have suspended orders for non-essential items in India to prioritize customers’ critical needs at a time of lockdown.
“Amazon India will prioritize the sale and delivery of household staples, packaged foods, healthcare, hygiene and personal safety products,” the company said in a blog post.
The firm said there has been a surge in the sale of essential products, adding that it is refunding against cancellation of non-essential products orders. Amazon India, however, did not reveal timeline for resumption of normal operations.
The Union Technology Ministry has advised state governments to allow e-commerce services to operate, especially with respect to essential items.
The companies had stopped their manufacturing operations till 31 March after 32 states and Union territories had already declared complete lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak.
The FMCG sector, therefore, is in talks with local authorities to resume operations at some of their units. The ITC said it is incumbent on it, in trying times, to provide essential products to consumers in a safe and sustainable manner across India through continuity of supply.
“As various state governments issue notifications, we are in discussions with them to ensure that manufacture and distribution of essential products are streamlined,” said an ITC spokesperson.
Nestle India has suspended operations or reduced operations at its manufacturing units.
“In view of the lockdown in many of the states and union territories across the country, the operations in some of the locations are scaled down or suspended,” Nestle said in a regulatory filing.
However, the company said is in talks with authorities to continue operations in factories and distribution centres, where the operations has been suspended.
Nestle India makes Maggi noodles, Nescafe coffee, Cereal for infants and KitKat chocolate, at eight factories across India. Dabur India has suspended its manufacturing operations, excluding essential items like Ayurvedic medicines, Chyawanprash, hand sanitisers and handwash.
“We have temporarily suspended production at our manufacturing units till March 31, 2020, except for essential products such as Ayurvedic medicines, Chyawanprash, hand sanitisers and hand wash in the larger public interest,” said Dabur India in a statement.
Coca-Cola India is only producing essential beverages like water, juices, tea and coffee, at its manufacturing facilities.
“In compliance with the government directive, we at the Coca-Cola system in India have temporarily suspended production at our manufacturing facilities,” said Coca-Cola India.
Varun Beverages, PepsiCo India’s bottling partner, has also suspended manufacturing operation.
Dabur said it is hard to evaluate or quantify the impact in a situation as dynamic and uncertain as it is now, but will depend on the stabilisation of the overall scenario arising from coronavirus.
Nestle India also said the impact on the operations of the company cannot be assessed at this point.