The Brihanmumbai Vruttapatra Vikreta Sangh (BVVS), the newspaper vendors' union in Mumbai, after meeting Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai, has decided to further suspend the distribution of newspapers on March 24 and March 25.
The future course of action will be decided on March 25, Hari Pawar, Secretary, BVVS, informed BestMediaInfo.com.
Pawar refuted the fake news being spread in social media that the union took a decision late night on Monday to stop delivery of newspapers till March 31.
Newspapers distribution was suspended from March 23 by the association citing safety concerns for their delivery staff in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The BVVS in its meeting with the minister and publishers demanded that apart from providing vendors with masks and hand sanitisers, publishers should take responsibility for treatment in case a vendor falls ill.
Pawar said they will decide the next course of action looking at the situation and after the talks with the government and publishers. “For now, the newspapers will not publish physical copies for two more days. A lot depends upon the situation after two days on the basis of which we will decide about deliveries of newspapers from March 26,” he added.
Publishers have been communicating to people at the last-mile delivery that their printing processes are automated, their factories and newspapers are sanitised, and they are making delivery staff equipped with all safety gear, including masks and sanitisers, to ensure the newspapers are safe. Citing WHO’s statement that commercial goods are unlikely to carry the coronavirus, they called out fake news spreading on social media that newspapers could be a carrier of coronavirus.
RWAs bar newspapers delivery boys
In the meantime, a few areas in Delhi are facing irregular delivery of the newspaper. RWAs have also started considering banning newspapers due to the allegedly baseless fear that they could be carriers of coronavirus.
In some areas in Delhi and nearby NCR cities such as Ghaziabad and Noida, some resident associations have already barred entry of newspaper delivery boys into their society premises. But all residents do not support the decision to stop newspapers, though they have been forced to abide by the directive.
A few vendors in some areas also refused to pick up bundles at pick-up points, saying there is no point in lifting newspapers if their delivery boys are not allowed.
Goa too has stopped newspapers till tomorrow.
There is no newspaper in Ludhiana.
In Uttar Pradesh, there is no disruption in the delivery of the newspaper. “In Lucknow, we are receiving newspapers as usual,” said a resident.
Several leading newspapers, in a combined communication on Saturday, said, “Covid-19 has shown us that fake news is a real issue. It seems fake news on social media is spreading faster than the virus itself. And answers are harder than ever to come by. Now we aren’t medical experts, but we know how to get to the truth. By thoroughly researching and verifying every word before it’s actually printed. So in these uncertain times, might we ask you wait. Wait before you share something you have no way of confirming. Wait until the truth in print makes its way to your doorstep. Print is proof.”