I guess I have earlier written about my family connections to Post Office. At least 3 from our family have worked in Post Offices over the last 80 years or so. But the connection seems to have been lost now.
Hardly I need to visit a post office. Today was one of the days where I went to Post Office since I had to "speed post" an envelope. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Post Office has been fully computerised. They have PC's for all the staff, bar code readers et al. It is so different from the Post Office I have known all my life. When I gave the Clerk at the counter the envelope, he put a bar coded tag, used his bar code reader and updated few columns on his desktop and gives me a receipt for the speed post. Thats it! All over in a jiffy!! But the lack of courteousness of the Clerk hasn't changed one bit. Sad!
It is so different from the Post Office I know about. When my uncle used to be the Post Master of New Colony Post Office at Tuticorin, the post office functioned out of a bungalow. It was so huge a house with a big, really big garden as well. The ground floor housed the Post Office with big counters for stamps, envelopes and SB accounts. There used to be a huge sorting hall where all the letters would be sorted for distribution and Post Master (my uncle) sat at the centre of the hall overseeing everything. The PM's quarters is just behind this sorting hall which is nothing but an extension of the house. The first floor was a sprawling 4 room house where the junk postal stationery were kept in one of the front rooms. I really wonder why they had to print so many Money Order and SB pay-in challans. A big supply chain opportunity, I guess!! There was beautiful balcony as well. I think that house would have been demolished now and a ugly looking 4 storeyed flat would have taken its place. Need to check out when I visit Tuticorin next time!! Oh, Tuticorin, when I am going to visit you again???
Coming back to the present day world of Post Offices, I learn that Accenture India has bagged a billion dollar contract from Department of Posts for re-structuring the Post Offices across India. I guess the idea of this whole exercise is to streamline the functioning of the post offices, make it more efficient through use of automation and computers rather than to privatise Postal services. The credit for whatever computerisation of Post Offices should go to whom, Dayanithi Maran? I guess so. What do you say?