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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Flood of letters to PM makes postal officials roll up sleeves

NEW DELHI: Call it a growing desire among citizens to directly connect with the PM, the postal department has witnessed a phenomenal upsurge in letters addressed to the country's highest office in the past few months.

While the PMO used to receive anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 letters per month during Manmonhan Singh's tenure, the figure has been 1-2 lakh every month since July, barely two months after Narendra Modi took over as the , said officials. From the pathetic condition of a school to suggestions to generate power from alternative and renewable sources, people seem to be writing to Modi on everything under the sun.

While this could be an indicator of Modi's popularity among the masses, the sudden increase in the volume of letters has had the post office at Nirman Bhawan, which deals with the PMO letters, on its toes. This has prompted the officials, who were accustomed to dealing with just one fourth of these numbers, to increase the staff strength at the PMO dak unit and upgrade infrastructure. The team led by post master general Vishwamurti and the senior superintendent (central division) Binti Chaudhry had also put in place a better delivery system.

According to an official, letters are first diverted to two beats, which are dedicated to the PMO, where they undergo a security scan. Subsequently, these are segregated on the basis of mode of post such as speed post, ordinary post etc. "We make the entries in our computers and then send the letters to the PMO latest by 11pm each day," the official said.

A team of around 50 officials is at work at the Nirman Bhawan post office for the disposal of the letters marked for the PMO.

The letters, once read by the PMO officials, are sent to various departments located in Shashtri Bhawan, Rail Bhawan etc depending on the nature of complaints. The ones that require to be read by the PM are brought to his notice.

Officials recall how they were taken aback when they received over a lakh letters in July. "On an average, the daks used to be around 5,000-10,000. But in July and August, we had received around 1.26 lakh. The number shot up to around 2.7 lakh in September during Modi's birthday and the Kashmir floods," an official said.

"The postal department used to receive around 100 e-Money Orders daily, which were sent as donations to the PM's relief fund, in the aftermath of the floods in J&K. Apart from birthday wishes sent through lakhs of letters, the post office received 3,000 "e-Post messages" on the PM's birthday, another official said.

The trend, officials say, is unprecedented at a time when internet and e-mail have touched every nook and corner of the country. They say this will not only help revive the practice of writing letters, but also give a new lease life to the long-dormant postal department.

Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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