Published: 06th April 2020
Battling COVID-19: Here's how the MeeBuddy app is delivering essentials to remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh so people stay home
MeeBuddy offers groceries, vegetables, fruits, branded foods, breakfast and snacks, household products, and several other essential goods
If you step out of your house anytime within these 21 days, you will definitely witness long queues outside grocery stores and people standing at a one-metre distance inside boxes drawn on the streets. At this critical juncture when social distancing is the most important precautionary measure to control the Coronavirus spread, here's an Andhra Pradesh start-up which has collaborated with the administration of a remote district in Arunachal Pradesh to ensure people are at home while they deliver the everyday essentials at the doorsteps.
Founded by Malireddy Rajasekhar, MeeBuddy is an android-based digital application, launched by the district administration of Lohit- a remote district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh that has been providing the people with an option to order essential items online at nominal delivery charges.
Through MeeBuddy, the shop owners and other business units in the district can also continue the limited and safe operation of their installations by registering themselves on the app and uploading their menu or supply items that will be visible to the consumers. MeeBuddy works through local franchises, thus these local shopkeepers are providing them with regular supplies of essentials.
The app was launched in Arunachal Pradesh on March 23 and in just a week's time, they have already delivered over 250 orders, served more than 1500 customers and covered 15 villages in the Lohit district. "A month ago, we had a meeting with the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh regarding the launching of the service. Deputy Commissioner of the Lohit district Prince Dhawan has helped us tremendously to set this up. We had plans to start this in the district even before the outbreak. So, on the first day of the lockdown, we were able to begin our services. We are currently catering to Tezu, the district headquarter and villages surrounding it. The DC had given orders to local shops to provide us with the necessary items- vegetables, fruits, dry ration, and household items," says Rajasekhar. The local shops in Arunachal are open from 6-10 am for people to come out to purchase, after that MeeBuddy has permission to deliver.
MeeBuddy offers groceries, vegetables, fruits, branded foods, breakfast and snacks, household products, personal and beauty care, baby care products, school and office supplies, restaurant items, computer services, electrical, plumbing, carpenter services and bike. "We are also providing LPG gas services at a few places but currently services like electrician, plumber, carpenter are not available as we are only focusing on the delivery of daily needs," adds the founder.
MeeBuddy was first launched in Andhra Pradesh in February 2019 and it currently has 20 branches there. They also have services in Telangana and are planning to get Meghalaya into their horizon. "In AP, we have been giving out the MeeBuddy software for free to those who are interested to run the services. We have student volunteers who are training new ones online for more support and easier delivery," says Rajasekhar.
MeeBuddy is incubated at Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge and Technology, Nuzvid, Vijayawada and Rajasekhar is an alumnus of the same institute. He completed his graduation in computer science engineering in 2017. After which, he worked as a UC Berkeley Research fellow in the AP Smart Village project. MeeBuddy's operations in Arunachal is also a result of his association with the Smart Village Movement, which is working with the state governments to enable rural people to provide for themselves through several areas like entrepreneurship, job skilling and onboarding them to open innovation platforms.
As far as their future plans go, Rajasekhar says they will set up services in other remote districts of Arunachal. "We will start in other places as well, as we get more volunteers to help us with the demands. We will begin to deliver in Itanagar most likely from April 1," he concludes.