Mumbai Dabbawalas Badly Affected By Covid Restrictions; Seek Financial Aid From Govt

mumbai dabbawalas
by Sanjana Shenoy
by Sanjana Shenoy 718

Maharashtra, the worst affected state by the coronavirus infection, imposed a strict 15-day lockdown till May 1, 2021. With the implementation of curfew, only essential services will be permitted. All amusement parks, cinema halls, gyms, religious places, salons,  swimming pools are shut down. While the economy has come to a halt to give first priority to the safety of the citizens, Mumbai’s lifeline, the famed ‘Dabbawalas’ are once again badly affected by the Covid restrictions. The 130-year-old delivery network witnessed a 90 per cent plunge in its business. The Dabbawalas appealed to the government for financial aid. Here’s everything to know.

Dabbawalas In Mumbai Struggle To Earn Amid Covid Induced Lockdown

The lunchbox delivery men on Mumbai or Dabbawalas would earlier deliver over 2,00,000 lunches by bicycles daily. They earned over ₹20,000 per month. The coronavirus pandemic created havoc in their business. Earlier, 5000 dabbawalas were employed, after the first lockdown, only 400 to 500 continued to work. Now with the financial capital of India, Mumbai worst hit by COVID-19, only 200 to 250 dabbawalas are left. And they struggle to earn even ₹5000 per month.

Mumbai Dabbawalas

Picture Credits: pri.org

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Vishnu Karduke, a dabbawala and spokesperson of their union stated to Times Now, It feels like life has come to a halt. So many changes have taken place (during the pandemic) that out of 5,000 Dabbawalas only 450-500 are working because customers are very few. People are doing any job they can get, some have taken up farming while some have become construction labourers. And those who had rented homes in Mumbai fled from the city and never returned.” If you’re like to help the Dabbawalas, click here.

Picture Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai Dabbawalas Appeal To State Government For Financial Support

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The Dabbawalas are semi-literate people from rural areas. They collect hot meals from customer’s homes and using an efficient delivery system, they carry them to offices and schools across the city. The delivery system was the primary source of income for 5000 dabbawalas and their families. They lost their bread and butter overnight when PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in March 2020. Vitthal Rao, a dabbawala for 25 years stated to Times Now, “The income drop is a huge problem for us, as we have children to look after at home.”  Rao urged the Maharashtra government to provide financial aid to sectors worst hit by the pandemic. We at Curly Tales got the privilege to converse with the dabbawalas of Mumbai and create awareness on their problems amid the pandemic. 

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