Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Cameraperson: Aryan Maurya
"I am wearing three layers of T-shirts to save myself from the heat wave."Rajendra Singh, food delivery executive
Rajendra told me this when I met him at the Community Centre Market of New Friends Colony in New Delhi. Rajendra had just finished eating his lunch using his bike seat as a table.
As the temperature in the Delhi-NCR region soars above 42°C, food delivery executives, who generally have to stay outdoors for their work, find it challenging to work in the sizzling heat.
For these delivery executives, not having to work in the hot weather of the national capital is a luxury not everyone can afford. "Nobody wants to work in this heat, but we don't have an option. Otherwise, those of us who don't want to work in the heat work in the evening," Banwari Singh told me. He had picked up his order from a restaurant in Okhla and was gearing up to deliver it.
Unpredictability in the weather conditions over the last couple of weeks makes their job even more challenging. "We get tired and get body aches. But we take our medicines and resume work," said Ramesh Chauhan.
"Earlier, it used to be very difficult. Now, I have gotten used to delivering food quickly. I used to find it difficult even to take time out to eat my food. Now, I can manage my deliveries and take time to eat."Rajendra Singh, food delivery executive
Another executive, Banwari Singh, pointed out that in Delhi's heat, sitting on a bike under the sun during a traffic jam worsens their lives. "Traffic creates many problems. It's a bit hot in Delhi. We have to work for 12-14 hours. The company gives us a target to deliver 33 orders per day," said Banwari Singh.
'Customers' Behaviour Adds To Our Stress'
In these harsh conditions, sometimes, customers' behaviour adds to their stress. I met Ramesh Chauhan, a delivery executive, in Jamia Nagar. He was carrying multiple orders for delivery and, in the process, was running behind schedule. Despite trying to convince the customer that he had multiple orders, the customer insisted on delivering their order quickly and on priority.
"Some customers are nice. They welcome us like a guest. Some customers abuse us. They talk rudely to us. The company doesn't listen to us, it listens to the customers even when they are abusive. When we complain, they think it would be our mistake only. If someone abuses you without any reason, it will affect your mental health."Pille Raj, food delivery executive
Rajendra explained the reason for the delays: "Many times, there is a huge flow of orders, and there are fewer delivery executives to work, that’s when the problem happens. The customer thinks they have ordered from the app, and we delivery executives are not delivering."
"There is often a delay on the restaurant's part as well. We wait at the restaurant, and the customer thinks we are delaying their orders," said Rajendra.
'Nobody Cares About Us'
Despite the rising petrol prices and inflation in the country, these delivery executives' earnings have reduced. Despite several protests, they say their issues have not been resolved, and they expect the government to devise some regulations.
"Earlier, we used to get Rs 45 for a single order, and if there were two orders simultaneously, we used to get Rs 70. Today, whatever the number of orders is we are paid as per the distance travelled, and Rs 20 is fixed per order. The government isn't looking at us. Earlier, petrol was cheap, and we used to earn around Rs 50 per order, now, it's around Rs 100 per litre."Rajendra Singh, food delivery executive
Lack of jobs in the market and the responsibility to run their family pushes them back to work that pays them more. "Nobody is listening to us. We are tired of raising our voices," said Rajendra Singh.
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