Bowing to the constant demand of the dabbawalas, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has ordered concerned departments to provide houses to them under the PM Awas Yojana. Pawar has called for immediate action to resolve the housing needs of dabbawalas. Since 2005 dabbawalas have been demanding for home in Mumbai. Pawar also announced that Dabbawala Bhawan will be constructed in the city to showcase the work of dabbawalas. The housing scheme was launched in 2015 with an objective of providing affordable housing for all in urban areas by year 2022.
There are nearly 5,000 Dabbawalas in the city who charges around Rs 1000 a month from a customer to pick up and deliver home-cooked meals at their offices.
Dabbawalas have welcomed the announcement. When asked, Dr. Pawan Agrawal ,CEO of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, told AV, “The move is quite appreciable, the dabbawalas are in thousands and all can take advantage of this scheme because most of them are from lower middle-class families and their ancestors too have no properties of their own. As an organization, if these people get benefit, many other organizations like us can approach for the same.”
A delegation of the association met Ajit Pawar, along with labour and excise department minister Dilip Walse-Patil, in Mantralaya. Following the meeting, the deputy CM directed the officials to work out a plan for the same. The Dabbawala association’s spokesperson Subhash Talekar said, “We welcome the decision as it was our demand since 2005 as most of us hail from villages in Pune. Like mill workers and Mathadi kamgars, we also want homes in Mumbai. We now hope that we will get homes.”
“It is good news. We thank Ajit Dada for taking such a decision. It will be really good for the welfare of dabbawalas,” he added.
Mumbai’s dabbawalas are famous across the world for their management skills and unique system of marking which enables them to collect lunch boxes from homes of working professionals and deliver them on time in their offices. They deliver two lakh lunch boxes everyday but struggle with their own housing needs in Mumbai.
The housing for dabbawalas will be provided under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or PMAY scheme that was launched in 2015 with the aim of providing housing for all in urban areas by year 2022. Through the scheme, the centre provides assistance to the implanting agencies through the states union territories and central nodal agencies fro providing house to all eligible families.
As per a report, the large number of dabbawalas comes from the Varkari community of Maharashtra. The dabbawalas work on a system of colour code which determines where the box is picked up, sorted and delivered. Also, if the one dabba picked up from a home then the dabba goes through six dabbawalas before it reaches the consumer. The same rule applies for its return trio.