Mumbai schools seeking security measures have banned the dabbawallas to continue their service in schools. Almost 50% of schools have agreed to do so. The maximum number of schools among them are from South Mumbai.
The parents though have not fully showed consent for this but they haven’t denied either. Some of the parents fear that their child’s diet may be contaminated by sharing a tiffin that does not suit their taste or religious ideology.
Grace Mathias, Principal of Queen Marry School said, “After the terror attacks of 2008, we banned tiffin services. We don’t allow them to deliver food, be it inside the school premises or at the gate. The purpose is to prevent infiltration and ensure security. There is no compulsion on students to eat food from the canteen. They can bring their own tiffin boxes as well. There has been a mixed response from the parents but we have left it to their discretion to decide what is good for their children.”
Though the dabbawlas have showed concern over this and disagreed to the facts being portrayed by the schools.
Raghunath Medge of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers, the main union of tiffin carriers said, “Approximately 50% of all schools across the city, mainly convents have stopped dabbawallas’ entry. At one time we were supplying 1 lakh tiffin to schools. This number has now dropped to 20,000.”
Though, the Maharashtara government has intervened into the matter. Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis and Education Minister, Vinod Tawde have directed the police and government authorities to facilitate dabbawallas’ service to school children.
Their intervention came after BJP MLA Ashish Shelar wrote a letter Tuesday, urging them to permit the entry of dabbawallas in schools. The MLA gave a solution to the schools to allot registration cards and identity cards to dabbawallas just as they do for other service providers and their own employees.
Mr. Fadnavis instructed the Police Commissioner to convene a joint meeting with schools and dabbawallas and find a solution.