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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Companies in IT corridor ~trouble in deliverance of Posts ..

A few decades ago, the Post Office in every area was the most visited place – it used to be always busy…… people used to communicate through letters [post cards / inland letters / covers and the like…] – when was the last time, you ever wrote a letter [handwritten]  to your relative or to your friend – a few decades ago, that was the most chosen form of communication…. Caring parents would send off their wards telling ‘drop a letter immediately upon reaching the place’ … almost all official communication was by way of typed letters with signature of authorized persons.   Then there was this telegram – the most efficient and speedy communication of message[of those days] ….. Deepavali, Pongal, New Year and the like – people used to send Greeting Cards through Postal Department.

Till a couple of decades ago, hardly a week would go by without the postman bringing a postcard from a family member or an acquaintance. One used to wait anxiously for the arrival of the postman who used to bring in some important message written in postcards or folded blue inland letters. Sir Post ! [thapal] was the most sought after word to be heard ! ….. In those days, frequent users could register and obtain what was known as ‘PO Bag No.’ ….. it was sort of special space for the recipient at a Postal Office and was an easy way of providing accurate address….

The service is centuries old ! – the British East India Company took constructive steps to improve the existing systems in India  and in 1688, they opened a post office in Bombay followed by similar ones in Calcutta and Madras. The Post Office Department of the East India Company was first established in  1774 at Calcutta.   Although the Indian Post Office was established in 1837, Asia's first adhesive stamp, the Scinde Dawk, was introduced in 1852 by Sir Bartle Frere, the British East India Company's administrator of the province of Sind. Indian Post and Telegraphs was a vast network providing employment to thousands....

Old order changeth .... and new replaces old ~with the modern day technology, of computers and smartphones – there is little of handwritten communication and less of printed letters – in this World of FB, Whatsapp and more – more people are weaning away from e-mails too.  Still there are letters and parcels  - the Rajiv Gandhi Salai aka IT corridor buzzes with activity and is dotted with so many IT parks – once in a while, we read in newspapers that several techies working in firms along the IT Corridor have missed letters and parcels addressed to them; not the fault of postman or postal department but their own employers !

It was reported that nearly 25% of the 300-400 mails and articles that land at each of the seven post offices along the IT corridor, every day, is returned or delivered late as security personnel at IT firms refuse to accept personal mails of employees. Postmen of Sholinganallur and Perungudi complain that waiting for long hours at IT firms to deliver mail has affected service to other residents in nearby localities.  To resolve the issue, Department of Posts reportedly wrote to over 30 IT companies in Kelambakkam, Sholinganallur, Perungudi and Okkiyam-Thoraipakkam. [not sure whether the postman was allowed to deliver these letters at least !]

The Post Master General of Chennai City Region is quoted as saying - “Our staffers contact the addressees on their mobile numbers, if specified in the mails. But, a bulk of the articles is still returned. We plan to represent the issue to the labour department again, as a lot of effort is wasted and delivery to other residents is delayed.”  The reason is not too convincing ! - Nasscom’s senior director is quoted as responding that  thousands of employees in IT firms move between various site offices and hence it is difficult to track every employee’s schedule. The Postal Dept should be delivering the letters / parcels at the given addresses and will not their responsibility end there !! – if the IT Company is not in a position to locate their own staff – what can an outsider do !!

Today’s The Hindu reports that frustrated over the treatment meted out to the postal staff for several months now, the postal department is considering initiating legal action against those IT firms that deny access to deliver letters and parcels to employees. It is stated that for years now, seven post offices along the IT corridor have been finding it challenging to deliver mails to IT employees. On an average, each of these offices gets 300-400 mails daily. Now, at least 50 mails and Speedpost articles are returned undelivered daily to Sholinganallur post office as the security personnel did not allow postmen to deliver them.

After a round of meetings with the Labour Department and representatives of IT companies, some firms agreed to be receptive. Still it is stated that a few companies like Wipro Technologies continue to deny access to Postal staff. They do not even accept intimation slips that help the recipients trace letters or articles addressed to them.

All is not well ~ and not taking postal covers and not allowing postal officials smacks of something else.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th June 2015.

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