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Post offices may sell mobile handsets

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, APRIL 12. Mobile handset companies are holding talks with the Tamilnadu Postal Circle for selling phones through post offices, according to the Chief Postmaster-General, Vatsala Raghu.

The circle, which now sells pre-paid cards of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, is not averse to making post offices a point of sale for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), if the offer from the companies is good, she told a press conference here today.

Ms. Raghu said the department gave a lot of freedom to the circles to take up profitable ventures. Some of the postal circles started selling FMCG products through their post offices. The Tamilnadu circle was evaluating the prospects. It was now focussing on consolidating its activities. "We want to consolidate and earn more revenue."

Besides the postal services, including total mailing solutions for the corporate sector, the circle sells financial products, life insurance polices and mutual funds through select post offices.

On the possibility of post offices taking up banking activities, especially mobilising deposits and extending credit, she said the department was taking the initiative. A bank status would help the department extend loans and thereby getting higher returns on the Postal Life Insurance funds.

During 2004-05, the Tamilnadu Circle collected Rs.1, 700 crores under the Rural Postal Life Insurance Schemes, against Rs.906 crores in the previous fiscal. It collected Rs.292 crores last fiscal as against Rs.250 crores during 2003-04.

Logistics service

Ms. Raghu said the Chennai-Hosur-Chennai Logistics Post Service, to be launched on April 15, with Kancheepuram, Ranipet, Vellore and Ambur as intermediary stations, would be operated daily. Consignments, except those prohibited under the law, of a minimum of 50 kg would be accepted. There was no upper weight limit. If the consignor gave more than one article/piece and all of them addressed to the same consignee, the package would be treated as one consignment and the charges worked out accordingly.

Tariff for the service would be based on the weight and volume of goods and might vary from consignment to consignment. On payment of a nominal extra cost, pick-up, loading, door-delivery, including unloading and storage of goods before despatch or delivery, would be offered.

The circle would outsource vehicles for the service, but its officials would accompany them.

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