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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Money order goes the telegram way !

In July 2013,  I went to the Post Office in Mount Road, stood in the Queue and sent the telegram to my son ~ for the 160 year old service ceased to exist from that time.

‘old order changeth .... yielding place to new’ ~ change is permanent and things do change in life.  Some lose their sheen for no fault of theirs.  I have seen this building situate at Veeraraghava Mudali St [Big Street of Triplicane] once thronged by people everyday.  It was so spacious, had a couple of mango trees and a neem tree, ample space for parking cycles.  Curved steps led to two resting place–  porch (thinnais).  There were two counters,  a makeshift room housing another counter – rest were not accessible to common public.  If you could spend a few hours there, you would perhaps meet all the people in the locality who would have some vocation to be there..   it was the “Post Office”- officially “Parthasarathy Koil P.O” – that Triplicanites are still fighting for its restoration nearer home is a different big story !

The Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is a government-operated postal system in India; it is generally referred to within India as "the post office".  Of the many services, Telegram ceased to exist; post cards, inland letters are not in great demand now !! ...... now this post is about another service ‘Money Order” – which was a great utility for people sending amounts to their native temples, parents, relatives and others in rural areas.

The Postal Dept website mentions Money Order as : A money order is an order issued by the Post Office for the payment of a sum of money to the person whose name the money order is sent through the agency of the Post Office. A ‘Payee’ is the person named in money order as the person to whom the money is to be paid . The advantage of  sending money to someone through money order is that the money is delivered at the house or his place of stay.

Procedure of sending the Money Order : Buy a money order form at the counter of the post office. A remitter is the person who send money order. Fill in ink the necessary entries adding his signature of thumbs marks at the foot. A form without signature or thumb mark or incomplete in any respect will not be accepted. All entries made in the form must be legible and may be written in English, Hindi ot in the language of the district either by the remitter himself of by any one on his behalf. The remitter may write on the coupon any communication he desires to make to the payee. The amount for which a single money order may be issued must not exceed Rs 5000/-

There were some good Samaritans who would help in filling up the money order forms.  The amount would get paid to the person at home by the Postman, who was well acquainted with all residents of the village.   Now comes the sad news that the 135 year old legacy is dead.  Like the telegram, money order too has ceased to exist.  India Post has quietly discontinued the traditional money order service, which was an integral part of the department since 1880, facilitating pan-India door-delivery of funds to a payee from over 1.55 lakh post offices.

In an era of instant communications, the traditional money transfer facility has made way for an electronic version, which was introduced in October 2008, thanks to the proliferation of mobile telephony and data communications in the country through the internet — 18 months after they led to the demise of the telegram.  According to the Postal authorities, they have stopped the money order services – but have the iMO and eMO, the electronic money transfers.  It is stated that both these are much faster and simpler means to remit money. The iMO system, according to India Post, provides instant money order service for amounts ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs.50,000.  In the instant, web-based system, money can be remitted by designated iMO post offices — where an electronic version of a form is filled along with an identity proof. Once the money is transferred electronically, along with one of the 33 standard messages that can be chosen by the remitter, the payee can visit the post office and receive the money on producing a proof of identity. The money can also be credited to the savings bank of a payee. In the case of eMO, money is paid at the door-step of a payee — from Re.1 to Rs.5,000 — within a day, along with 21 standard messages. It is booked at an authorised post office and delivered pan-India from all delivery post offices. This can also be tracked on the India Post website.

According to information provided by India Post, the money order system was transferred from the official treasury department to the Posts and Telegraph Department in 1880 to save people the ardour of long journeys they had to often undertake to pay revenues and rent.

Postman was a well known and respected person in villages.  Their role has been portrayed in many movies, albeit many of them were comedies.  In the Prabhu, Meena starrer ‘Rajakumaran’released in 1994, Senthil was the postman while Goundamani was the milkman...............the “paal – thapaal” comedy was a great hit.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Apr 2015.

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