BHUBANESWAR: The Rasulgarh sub-post office has been functioning from a ramshackle building at Mancheswar for the past two years.
Cracks have appeared on walls and ceiling of the building. Naked electricity wires and peeled off plaster on the walls and ceilings have become a cause of concern for the employees.
There is no cash box and the weighing machine is rusting in a corner of the room. In the absence of almirahs and racks, documents are placed on termite-eaten shelves. The ceiling of the building starts dripping even with a light shower. There is not even enough space in the post office for the customers to stand. Catering to Rasulgarh and nearby areas, the sub-post office is being run with the help of 15 employees.
Sources said the dilapidated building at Mancheswar in which the post office functions was a bag washing plant of the Postal Department. As it was lying defunct for many years, the department decided to shift the sub-post office from Rasulgarh to this building two years back. However, little was done to repair and renovate the building.
“When other post offices were transformed, I hoped for a brand new post office experience here also, but it hasn’t happened so far,” said Suvendu Routray, a resident of the area.
The situation is no different in 51 other sub post offices within the city limits. Of these, five have been covered under the Project Arrow which envisages streamlining of operations and improving the ‘look and feel’ of the post offices. These five are Utkal University post office, Saheed Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Old Town and Bhoi Nagar post office. However, sources said even as the ‘look’ of these post offices has changed, the ‘feel’ remains the same.
In many other sub post offices, the Postal Department has installed computers for day-to-day work, but has not provided any back up system, such as inverters or generators. Power cuts hinder transactions, making the situation miserable for the staff and customers. There are no special counters for women and senior citizens and no furniture. There is no basic amenity for public and staff.
Secretary of the All India Postal Employees Union (Odisha unit) B Samal said there aren’t even glass panels in counters in post offices.
The employees’ body has identified several steps for making the postal premises customer-friendly. The list includes provision of air-conditioning and mini water coolers, supply of literature and brochures in adequate numbers and properly trained staff. “We would place the demands before the department soon,” Samal said.