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Several post offices in the city present a picture of neglect

R. Srikanth

Velachery office suffers from lack of amenities, sufficient postmen

— PHOTO: N. SRIDHARAN

CRAMPED: Customers at the Velachery Post Office.

CHENNAI: The Post Office in Velachery, housed in a dingy complex, presents a picture of neglect.

The post office, which is located on the first floor, ails from lack of basic amenities such as toilets, furniture and parking space for the staff. These make visits to the post office an unpleasant experience for the customers, despite efficient customer services offered by the staff here.

S. Ramachandran, a resident of Velachery, says the post office is cramped and has inadequate lighting.

A postman attached to the office said it had only one toilet for both men and women, and the dining room was next to it. “One cannot eat in the room owing to the stink,” he adds.

The shortage of postmen has affected the delivery service, as on an average 500 to 600 posts have to be delivered on bicycles covering a vast area, he says.

A member of the All India Postal Employees’ Union says that while the Postal Department wants to compete with the private courier companies, manpower shortage continues to affect the postal operations. Consequently, postmen are being asked to take care of two areas, he adds.

A senior official of the Chennai City South Division of the Postal Department says that the department has been looking for an alternative accommodation. As regards shortage of manpower, the official says the department is planning to increase the number of postal staff.

Not an isolated case

A number of post offices in the city and suburbs are in a neglected state, including those at Anna Nagar West Extension and Shastry Nagar.

The Postal Department has closed down and merged several post offices in the city citing high rentals and manpower shortage as reasons. For instance, the Santhome Post office was merged with the Mylapore Head Post Office and the Ram Nagar sub post office in Ambattur with the Head Post Office there.

G. Natarajan, president, Ambattur Consumer Association, says that when public sector banks are expanding operations by opening branches in different parts of the city and suburbs, the Postal Department seems to be closing down offices or merging a number of post offices.

“The Ram Nagar post office, opened 20 years ago, was a boon for senior citizens, but it has been closed suddenly. The Ambattur HPO is so cramped that people have to wait in long queues to purchase even a stamp or a postal cover.”

Mr. Natarajan says residents’ welfare associations could help the department by providing office space in the buildings of welfare associations. The Kumaran Nagar Welfare Association in Peravallur is an example, where the residents’ welfare association has rented out a portion of the association building to open a post office, he points out.

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