As per reports, only a handful of Dabbawalas are actually working at the moment & the major chunk is left without work.
Be it a rainy, chilly or a humid day, there has been no 'stop' for the Dabbawalas in the city, who have been delivering home-cooked food to Mumbaikars for many years now. Precisely, since 1890, which amounts to 130 years of service. The clockwork precision of these Dabbawalas, travelling daily by their cycle or the locals, has ensured that over two lakh people across the city, have access to warm home-cooked meals. But this delivery-mechanism with a Six Sigma rating of 99.9999 (that is, less than 1 mistake in every 6 million deliveries), has been put on a halt due to the pandemic. So being rendered helpless, with their backs against the wall, the Dabbawalas have now switched to a new venture, which will soon allow them to deliver fresh vegetables directly from farms.
Proposal yet to be sent to the Maharashtra Chief Minister
The Mumbai's Tiffin Box Suppliers' Association, was quoted saying, "Association realized that it can't continue this way and we have to find new ways for income, utilising [the] trust gained from customs over the years. Mumbai's tiffin box suppliers association has decided to enter in the business of supplying fresh vegetables from farm to households in Mumbai."
The statement further added that these vegetables will come at cheaper rates than what's available at the other markets, which will help reap a benefit for the sellers as well as the customers. Their proposal is yet to be sent to the Chief Minister, for the required permissions.
Back in October, the Dabbawalas were given permission to travel in Mumbai locals, but they were starved of the desired response. Many of their clients had lost their jobs, have been working from home and a few are also carrying their tiffin along with them, to reduce external contact. As per reports, only a handful of Dabbawalas are actually working at the moment and the major chunk is left without work. Given the loss of their usual work, many of them have now taken up other basic jobs at various spots in the city.
Promises of a better tomorrow & garam dabbas, wheeling in
Not too long ago, to assist the team of Dabbawalas, HDFC Life had partnered up with Ketto India and initiated a nationwide crowdfunding campaign, #PromisewalaDabba. The team members received a dabba which had a mix of supplies, including essentials such as staple food ingredients, sanitizers and toiletries and so on. This gambit was drawn with an aim to provide a month's worth of ration to each members, to ease out their woes to some extent.
Earlier, reportedly, the Dabbawalas had also appealed to the masses to donate cycles, as theirs had rusted over the period of the extensive lockdown. So accordingly, the president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Airport (RCBA) and other concerned officials, raised funds and donated 150 cycles to the Dabbawalas at an event and further, 150 sarees were handed over to them for their spouses.