Mumbai’s dabbawalas and workers of overseas consulates and excessive commissions have been allowed to journey in native trains that are at the moment being run just for important companies workers, officers stated on Wednesday. Dabbawalas, the well-known lunch-box carriers in Mumbai, final month stated there was by no means a six-month break within the “130 -year-old historical past of the tiffin companies”, and demanded entry to native trains to renew their companies in full capability.
At the moment, in view of the COVID-19 restrictions, solely the dabbawalas who might attain the south Mumbai space on their cycles have been capable of ship meals to office-goers.
They’ve now expressed happiness on being allowed to board native trains with impact from Tuesday.
Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer of the Western Railway, stated based mostly on the unlock tips issued by the Maharashtra authorities on September 30, they’ve allowed the dabbawalas to journey in native trains.
“The workers of overseas consulates and excessive commissions have additionally been permitted to journey in native trains, as per the directives acquired from the Ministry of Railways,” he stated.
Over 5,000 dabbawalas run the tiffin supply enterprise within the metropolis.
Earlier than the outbreak of COVID-19, they used to ship over two lakh tiffins to office-goers on regular working days.
They use suburban trains to make sure lunch bins are delivered on the vacation spot on time.
Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer of the Central Railway, stated QR-coded ID playing cards issued by the state authorities will likely be obligatory for them to journey in native trains, however dabbawalas have requested that they be allowed to journey on their identification playing cards.
“If the Maharashtra authorities agrees to their demand, we are going to allow them to journey on their ID playing cards,” he stated.
Subhash Talekar, spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawala Affiliation, expressed happiness on being allowed to journey in native trains.
“Lastly, after greater than six months, we are able to resume our service,” Talekar stated, including dabbawalas will now contact their prospects and request them to renew the tiffin service.
He was, nonetheless, skeptic about resumption of companies in full capability amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Earlier than the pandemic, each dabbawala had on a mean 20 to 22 prospects, however I doubt all prospects will resume the service instantly as many individuals are nonetheless working from residence,” he stated.
One other challenge is that many housing societies are nonetheless not permitting outsiders into the premises, he stated.
Talekar stated the dabbawalas will begin tiffin supply even with 4 to 5 prospects initially as they know it can take a while for issues to normalise.
“We’re going to observe the COVID-19 security protocols like carrying masks and gloves, utilizing sanitisers and sustaining social distance and also will guarantee our prospects about it,” he stated.
A lot of the dabbawalas hail from Maval space of Pune in western Maharashtra.
Following the enforcement of lockdown in March this 12 months, a lot of them returned to their native locations in Junnar, Ambegaon, Rajgurunagar, Maval, Haveli, Mulashi and different talukas in Pune district.
(With PTI inputs)