Kudumbashree’s dabawallla service launched in November and hopes to supply to private offices across Kochi in the future.

Kudumbashree cooks and supplies meals in dabbas for Kochi Metro staff
news Women’s empowerment Saturday, December 08, 2018 - 19:36

Inspired from the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has once again tied up with Kudumbashree, the Kerala government’s women’s empowerment programme, to supply homely food packed in steel boxes (dabbas) to the employees working for the Kochi Metro. The service was launched in the last week of November.

Speaking to TNM about the project, Dilraj, the Kudumbashree project manager of Kochi Metro said that Kudumbashree’s micro enterprise located at Choornikkara panchayat in Aluva is where food for the employees is prepared and supplied to the people across the 16 metro stations in Kochi.

“Kochi Metro is known to be very environment friendly. At the same time, Choornikkara Panchayat is also trying to become a plastic free zone. Keeping this in mind, the dabbawala system was implemented to discourage the employees from bringing food in plastic containers,” said Dilraj.

He said that the idea behind implementing such a system came from Sumi Nadarajan, Senior Deputy General Manager of Kochi Metro. Speaking to TNM, Sumi said ever since the project has gone underway from the last month of November, they have been studying the operations closely. “Just within a week, we have begun to see the results. There has been a decrease of 90% of plastic waste across the 16 metro stations of Kochi,” said Sumi.

“In fact, we were also able to remove two dustbins meant for plastic wastes in a few metro stations,” she added.

Speaking about how the system operates, Dilraj says that the lunch orders are placed by the employees before 10 am everyday and once the food is prepared, the Kudumbashree members gather with their dabbas at Muttom station from where they separate to different metro stations to distribute the food. They are permitted to travel on metro trains free of cost.

“As of now, we are sticking to the usual meals for lunch but we will be providing more options as we progress,” said Dilraj.

This initiative by Kudumbashree comes at a time when online delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato have found their way to Kochi.

But what makes the dabba system stand out is the reasonable rate at which the lunch is priced. Homemade meals are delivered at just Rs 40 and in steel boxes, which are later collected and brought back to the unit in Choornikkara.

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