“Only They Care”: Mumbai’s Dabbawalas Pledge Their Support To Shiv Sena


The dabbawalas of Mumbai, renowned the world over for the precision with which they provide meals to over two lakh people spread across a city bursting from its seams, have pledged their support to the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha elections.

The reason? They say the regional party is the only one to take an active interest in their welfare.

“Of all the parties, it’s the Shiv Sena that has always stood behind us. Besides promising to construct a Dabbawala Bhavan, it has included us in its ‘Vision Mumbai’ campaign and taken several initiatives for our betterment,” news agency PTI quoted Subhash Talekar, president of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association, as saying on Thursday.

Around 5,000 dabbawalas render their services to office-goers working in various parts of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Virar in Palghar district. While their votes may not impact the outcome of the polls to a great degree, the association’s support does translate into a glowing endorsement of the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.

The 127-year-old dabbawala system has been recognised as one of the world’s most efficient logistics systems despite its reliance on unskilled workers, a two-tier management system and the city’s train network. And its delivery system is so flawless that a 2010 study by the Harvard Business School graded it in the “Six Sigma” category – which goes to show that dabbawalas make fewer than 3.4 mistakes per one million transactions.

Tilak Mehta, a 13-year-old budding entrepreneur, recently founded a logistics start-up called “Papers N Parcels” in collaboration with dabbawalas to courier papers and small parcels within Mumbai for assured intra-day delivery.

The Shiv Sena – the Mumbai Dabbawala Association’s party of choice – has aligned with the ruling BJP to take on the opposition alliance of the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party in the general elections. The six Lok Sabha constituencies in the city will go to the polls on April 29.

(With inputs from PTI)

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