Mumbai: The soaring inflation has pinched hard Mumbai's famous tribe of dabbawallas, who ferry lunch boxes to and fro in the city daily. From June 1, they plan to hike their monthly delivery charges by Rs.50 per customer.
It would mean an increase of 8 to 10 percent on the current rates paid by the customers depending on the distances from home to office and vice-versa, said Kiran Gawande, secretary, Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association.
"This is the third time in two years that we have been compelled to effect the hike in delivery charges. Even last year, we had increased the rate by an average Rs.50, preceded by a Rs.20 hike. Fortunately, the customers understood our plight and we did not have a single cancellation," Gawande told IANS Wednesday.
He explained that the general inflationary trends coupled with the recent hike in train fares have forced the dabbawallas to reluctantly hike their charges.
Over 200,000 tiffin boxes are delivered daily to officegoers at their work places from homes and back home again by a dedicated tribe of 5,000 in an all-weather operation spanning Mumbai and Thane districts.
Gawande said over 121 years ago, when the tiffin box carrier service was started by a band of 35 dabbawallas, they charged between 10-15 paise per month per customer.
"Over the years, the delivery rates have gone up to between Rs.500-750 per month, depending on the distance covered," Gawande said.