Pandemic turns RWAs Atmanirbhar

Lockdown opens up new opportunities for residents' associations to lighten their bills


Team TT

Never waste a good crisis, said Winston Churchill.

And some progressive retailers and RWAs alike seem to have taken it to heart to make the most of the current pandemic. Notwithstanding the widespread criticism of many RWA managements on their approach to running affairs during the crisis, there seems to be at least some positive outcome from it.

True to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Atmanirbhar, many resident associations seem to have realized the joys of collective procurement, of course quite opportunistically leveraged by some retail groups, of commodities and services.

For instance many retail chains like Spencer’s Retail, Metro Cash & Carry and Reliance Retail have reportedly tied up RWAs for supply of essentials and bulk groceries inside apartment blocks even at the peak of the lockdown days in March and thereafter. These arrangements seem to be continuing even after Unlock 2.0 thanks to the fear of venturing out to the grocery store on account of Covid-19.

At the same time online ecommerce sales have continued after initial hiccups in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown.  

While this is a return to a semblance of normal for the retail business, what does this mean for the residents themselves?

For starters, it means assured and cheaper deliveries apart from services.

For instance, for residents of CMR Residency in Chandanagar, Hyderabad it has meant quality veggies once a week with an assurance of hygienic packing and delivery. Some progressive residents have used their good offices in the complex to tie up with vegetable farmers on the outskirts of the city for the supply of packs of assorted fresh vegetable on a per dwelling unit basis.

As reported earlier in these columns several farmers across the cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and the NCR have taken the initiative of reaching out to RWAS with offers of supplying fresh fruits and vegetables at prices much lower than the neighborhood market.  The only condition is that RWA members need to place orders in numbers adequate to make it worthwhile for the suppliers to go through the effort of reaching it to their doorsteps.

Going beyond vegetables, these RWAs have Likewise, also kicked off bulk buying of essentials like sanitizers, medical equipment etc. at considerable discounts. Such bulk purchases have enabled us to bargain for better prices than the general retail supplies and without any additional charges being levied by the RWA, said a resident at the CMR Residency.

Another RWA from the NCR area has kicked off a “group buying” scheme for residents including services for repairing and maintaining air conditioners at a cost of Rs 250 each plus an Rs 20 RWA charge.

“The RWA has also arranged for the purchase of hand sanitizers made by reputed company Asian Paints at a substantial discount for buyers under group buying scheme,” Neeraj Chopra, General Secretary. We are striving to induct local traders and service providers in the close vicinity of the complex and colonies, he said adding the RWA executive monitors the service delivery and ensures service personnel take all safety precautions.  

For the retail chains such arrangements optimize their operational costs including manpower and logistics making the proposition that much more attractive. For instance Spencer’s Retail and Nature’s Basket have tied up with hundreds of RWAs, many in Gurgaon and Noida to deliver groceries.

Likewise, the Metro Cash & Carry India has reportedly tied up with over 1000 RWAs in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Ghaziabad and Lucknow with orders from each ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh per week.

So, clearly the lockdown has opened up new opportunities for both residents and retailers alike.


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