From delivering letters to providing financial services, post offices have risen up to meet new challenges
Hyderabad: When was the last time you wrote or received a handwritten letter from a loved one? If you were born in the 1990s, chances are that you’ve never done that and that you most likely perceive a ‘post’ as something on social media. Posting something via snail mail, as Gen Z calls it, is seen as something archaic but if you visit the General Post Office at Abids, you will be surprised by the flurry of activity, with long queues of people to send parcels, especially abroad.
According to Chief Post Master (CPM) A Subramanyam, the department has been handling a similar number of deliveries as it used to before the communication revolution, albeit with slight changes.
“Personal communication through post has reduced drastically but legal, official and institutional documentation and parcels have increased, giving us almost a similar number of items as before,” he explains. This is despite the huge number of private courier and delivery services available, as he says, “India Post is very economical and has a vast network, reaching any corner of the country. If a parcel is under 20 grams, it costs only Rs 25 to send it pan India. Tariffs for bigger parcels are also lesser than other services. This is our strength and why people continue relying on us.”
The buzzing sorting centre at the GPO reflects the same, with employees briskly sorting thousands of letters on a daily basis. In fact, during the lockdown, e-commerce giants like Amazon also tied up with India Post for logistics. “We established various Nodal Delivery Centres across the city, with each centre catering to various localities in its zone. E-commerce platforms always had a tie-up with us but in the lockdown, they utilised our services extensively as we were the only ones equipped to handle the situation,” he adds.
Apart from this, a post office has evolved drastically from being a place where letters are sent, to offering financial services, Aadhaar enrollment and Aadhaar Enabled Postal Services and many more. “That one can invest or save their money in a safe manner at a better rate of interest than banks at a post office is not new but in the last few years, there has been an increase in this and in Telangana, our staff also practically act like ATMs as through India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), we also assisted the Telangana government in the disbursal of funds under Rythu Bandhu,” Subramanyam says, adding that money order services are still offered.
One interesting initiative taken up by India Post’s Hyderabad City Division is the social media outreach. The initiative, a brainchild of Rippan Dullet, Senior Superintendent of Post Office, handles accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to give out information.
As Mohammed Javeed, Office Assistant at GPO and admin of the social media handles says: “We are making people aware of different schemes and services since the lockdown last year. We allocated different days for different categories. On Meritorious Mondays, we showcase top performers of our division. On Tuesdays, we post ‘Know Your Post Office’, detailing the location, areas served, services offered, etc about a particular post office. On Fridays, we post ‘Know Your Postman’, showcasing and recognising the efforts of our postmen,” says Javeed.
Walking into the sorting room, on the second floor at the GPO is like walking straight into the midst of a buzz of activity as one will get to see staff sitting at desks lined with cubby holes marked with area names. Mountains of letters are glanced at before being sorted into the right box, to be sent for delivery. According to Prasad, the incharge at the sorting room, the GPO alone processes 70,000 letters daily.
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