Mumbai: 39-year-old becomes the first city dabbawala to succumb to COVID-19

Updated: Jun 26, 2020, 19:22 IST | Vishal Singh | Mumbai

The deceased has been identified as Santosh Jadhav, who resided in Malad with his wife and a five-year-old son. Jadhav's wife has now been quarantined

Mumbai Police checking identity card of people at Appa Pada in Malad. Pic courtesy/Satej Shinde
Mumbai Police checking identity card of people at Appa Pada in Malad. Pic courtesy/Satej Shinde

A 39-year-old dabbawala died due to coronavirus in Mumbai. This is the first dabbawala who has succumbed to the virus. The deceased has been identified as Santosh Jadhav, who resided in Malad with his wife and a five-year-old son. Jadhav’s wife has now been quarantined.

Mumbai Dabbawala Association president Subhash Talekar said that Santosh was admitted to Nair Hospital on June 24 and died of Covid-19 on Wednesday evening.

In Mumbai, there are 5,000 dabbawalas, who deliver tiffin to millions of people daily. They deliver the meals prepared in customers’ homes to their offices and then return the empty dabbas at their home. Due to the lockdown, the dabbawalas’ business has been severely affected and many have been facing financial problems.

Mumbai’s 130-year-old food delivery system has been shut for the first time due to the pandemic. More than half of the dabbawalas have gone to their villages as they have no means of survival in the city.

Talekar told Mid-Day, “We were thinking of resuming the food delivery service but after Jadhav’s death due to COVID-19, we might reconsider our decision.”

Talekar appealed to the state government to provide financial aid to Jadhav’s family as there is no other earning member in the family. “I will appeal to the state government to also provide financial assistance to every dibbawala in the city.”

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