Raj Jain of BCCL clears air about safety of home delivery of newspapers

Physical newspaper delivery has been disrupted in many cites

Newspaper delivery has been disrupted

With India under a 21-day lockdown due to Covid-19 outbreak, there have been numerous reports that vendors are not picking up newspapers because resident welfare association and housing societies in cities like Delhi, Noida, Gurugram and Mumbai, among others have barred newspaper delivery boys in their premises over safety issues.

In Mumbai, there has been no physical delivery of newspaper editions of Times of India, Economic Times, Hindustan Times and others since March 23. Raj Jain, chief executive officer, Bennett Coleman and Company (BCCL), has dismissed apprehensions in regards to the process of newspaper printing and distribution.

“Despite all the efforts and awareness, fake news is being circulated, especially with regards to the process of newspaper printing and distribution. I want each one of you to understand and further educate others within your ecosystem. The newspaper printing, folding and bundling are all done without the human touch,” Jain said.

He said that the bundles are loaded on to fumigated trucks by gloved and face-masked handlers and strict hygiene discipline has been encouraged amongst the delivery boys.

“More importantly, neither the WHO nor India’s Health Ministry has issued any report in any of its recommendations or advisories to restrict newspapers and milk packets as a step towards prevention/spread of the disease. There are enough eminent doctors including leading virologists who have categorically stated that the newspaper carries no risk of carrying the infection,” Jain added.

He said that newspaper is an essential commodity today owing to a heavy dose of misinformation floating on the electronic media and continues to deliver authenticated news and information around the epidemic.

“Please continue to receive your newspaper at home and rest assured it will only help in the crisis and not aggravate it,” he said.

The novel coronavirus, which started as an epidemic in China is now a global pandemic. The fast-moving deadly virus, Covid-19, has claimed thousands of lives across the globe and left many more people infected across over 150 countries so far. With the increasing number of cases in India, the government has put a three-week lockdown and simultaneously issued advisories to contain the spread of the disease.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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