CUTTACK: Lawyers have demanded one-day clearance of cheques issued by different post offices and urgent steps for modernising and upgrading postal services in the State.
In a memorandum to Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad, lawyers and users of postal services have stated that the cheque clearance system, which is taking more than a week in Odisha, is posing a problem for the users.
Cheques are issued by post offices in lieu of various services like National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF) along with banking services like savings bank account, recurring deposit, time deposit, senior citizen savings scheme and monthly income scheme. When cheques are issued on maturity or on other accounts the entire process of clearing or honouring them takes more than a week.
“This is due to the fact that cheques are being sent to the Chief Post Master General’s (CPMG) Office at Bhubaneswar for clearing. Why should there be a clearing system when the postal cheques are issued and honoured by the post offices themselves. The unnecessary delay is not only creating problem for the people but also depriving many of tax benefits,” advisor and former president of Cuttack Tax Bar Association (CTBA) Pradip Pattnaik said, demanding same day clearance system for postal cheques.
The lawyers have also called for improvement of service standards in post offices. Basic items like common application forms are always in short supply and people have to move from counter to counter and approach different officials for their requirement. There is also a serious non-availability of Indian Postal Orders (IPOs) of the denominations of ` two, ` five and ` 10 as well as revenue stamps for the last couple of months, he alleged. “We have also urged the Union Minister to ask the State authorities to set up help desks at major post offices for assisting the common users in various services. Postal ATM counters have also not yet been opened in the State”, Pattnaik said.
There are around 8,164 posts offices under three divisions including 35 head post offices and 6,968 branch offices in Odisha.