The Department of Posts is slowly reinventing itself. Though most of the 155,618 post offices (as on March 31, 2003) are yet to reflect that. Though much of the processes have been computerised, the pace of the queue remains sluggish. Post offices are usually dingy and dark places with wooden cupboards (gradually replaced by steel), files lying untidily, a bowl of gum in a corner accompanied by bits of perforated paper. A steady sound of the dot-matrix printer printing names of addressees and destinations on bar-coded stickers. And offering services much diverse than the booming private sector banks and an unbeatable network which all the courierwallahs put together cannot beat.
I still have more faith on Speed Post than any of the courier services advertised on television. It’s tried and tested. A private courier company charges me Rs 30 for a parcel of 50 grammes to be delivered from Delhi to Shillong. It usually reaches in four days (occasionally seven or eight), one also got lost in transit and my brother took them to the consumer court. Speed Post charges Rs 25 (a flat rate across the country) and the delivery is within 72 hours (the distance is more than 2000 kilometres).
Though the Indian Railways and the man at the helm, Lalu Prasad Yadav, might attract international B-school attention for the turnaround of the railways. As a passenger I do not see any drastic changes. The trains still run late, the berths are uncomfortable, the toilets stink, the food is bad. Only difference is in the ease of ticketing. But that had been on for quite some time now and the credit shouldn’t go the incumbent minister. The revenues may rise, but I would still prefer to fly in an Air Deccan flight (even though it might have been overbooked). I reach my destination the same day, not two days later, at the same price. Given that I and many others like me prefer India Post, Dayanidhi Maran, might as well be lecturing Ivy League students.
Though India Post still has a long way to go, I was pleasantly surprised to find its ad in both The Times of India and The Indian Express (might have appeared in other papers too) and the agency name in fine print (wondering for the appropriate term) said DAVP. Not exactly known for quality in advertising, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity got some good work done this time.
The copy reads:
George Kundu (Kalu)
Pili Kothi No. 13, Behind Church,
Impossible for others, but India Post delivers to every Indian.
Reaching every Indian. India Post
Largest postal network in the world.
[Ad scanned from The Indian Express, March 28, 2007]