Panaji: The ubiquitous ‘dabbawalas´of Mumbai today gave credit to that city’s local train service for their phenomenal success in delivering thousands of tiffin boxes with clockwise precision.
“Without Mumbai’s railway service, we would not have been able to deliver such a quick and timely service,” Raghunath Medge, president of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust, said.
His remarks came in the course of a two-hour lecture to students of Sri Sri Institute of Management Studies in Margao, about 40 km from here.
Medge, who heads the 107-year-old institution that supplies around two lakh tiffins with a 5,000-strong force, said there cannot be a group such as dabbawalas in other cities like Nagpur and Nasik or even in Goa in the absence of a similar railway service.
“All these years, we have transported our dabbas through the same railways. It’s the same,” Medge told reporters after his address along with his colleague, Gangaram Telekar, the trust’s secretary.
The dhoti-clad dabbawalas hit the international headlines in late 2003 when Britain’s Prince Charles met them during his visit to India and admired their precision.
“People whom we encounter on the way talk about dabbawalas with dignity. They tell us that they have read about our services and pat us on our back,” Medge said.
The dabbawalas, staunch followers of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, have rejected a few corporate attempts to take over their institution.
With every year, there is a 10 to 12% increase in their business of supplying tiffins to customers for a meagre sum of Rs 300 a month, Megde said.