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Delhi not suitable for Mumbai's dabbawalas

Supriya Menon
Saturday, May 12, 2007 (Mumbai)
The dabbawalas in Mumbai are a unique institution of the city, and have become part of management mantras as they deliver homemade food to thousands across the city.

Recently many of them toured the capital city to sell their expertise to Delhi, and the results were not positive.

''Earlier also there were plans to start in other places, including London, but it is not easy. For us, distance and time management is most important. The stations need to be close to each other and everyone needs to be served lunch between 12 noon and 1 pm,'' said Anshuman Medge, Dabbawala.

Known for their precision in bookkeeping and delivery, plans were made many times before to replicate their model in different cities.

While they were able to manage a set up in Pune, logistics did not suit in other cities.

''The train system here works best for us. But in other cities, even Delhi, it is not the same. Also the distances are really far, so the road is ruled out,'' said Anshuman Medge Dabbawala.

The dabbawalas have always been popular, even Prince Charles was impressed with them.

Many have been invited to lecture in top management schools and now the NCERT has dedicated a chapter to them in their textbooks.

But for now, it seems that Delhi will not enjoy this service.
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