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Finally,city’s dabbawalas get a dabba of their own

Finally,the railways has given in to a long pending demand of the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai,who have for the past century been transporting lunch boxes with supreme efficiency despite the crowds on suburban trains.

Written by Kalpana Verma | Mumbai |
December 5, 2011 3:12:25 am

Finally,the railways has given in to a long pending demand of the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai,who have for the past century been transporting lunch boxes with supreme efficiency despite the crowds on suburban trains. From November 28,the Central Railway has for the first time allocated a luggage compartment for dabbawalas and their racks of lunch boxes.

Central Railway Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Anup Rane said: “Two months ago,dabbawalas approached CR authorities for earmarking a luggage compartment exclusively for carrying their dabbas. Transporting lunch boxes during the morning peak hours has become a harrowing task over time.”

He added that the CR conducted a survey and found that milkmen,vegetable vendors and fish vendors usually commute to the city between 4.30 am and 8.30 am and return after 6 pm,that too minus their luggage.

“Since the dabbawalas travel during the peak hours,CR has allocated the rear luggage compartment for them from 10.30 am to 12. 30 pm and 2.30 pm to 4 .30 pm,” said Rane.

As Central Railway runs all 12-car trains,there are two compartments for luggage — one at the front and another at the rear. So for trains heading towards CST,the rear luggage compartment will be reserved for dabbawalas.

However,even in the luggage compartments the dabbawalas will have to jostle for space with commuters who hop in as other compartments are too crowded to enter.

Officials said action would be taken against those using the luggage compartment in times set aside for dabbawalas.

The dabbawalas started their service in 1890,one of the first private service providers to use the suburban railway service which started around 1865. The organisation of dabbawalas is hoping that Western Railway,on which the morning rush hours are more severe,would also follow the CR model.

As of now,only women,physically challenged and cancer patients have been given the facility of reserved coaches on the suburban trains.

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