POSTAL SERVICES IN JAMMU & KASHMIR
by Tariq A Rather, Government of India Press Information Bureau, New Delhi
Postal services being an important communication channel are on a fast track to modernisation in Jammu and Kashmir (J & K). The J& K Postal Circle serves the entire State spread over an area of approximately 2,22,236 sq. kms with a population of 77,18,700. The State comprises 14 revenue districts in the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - all having different geomorphic, topographical and socio-cultural compositions.
The Postal Circle is administratively divided into five Postal Divisions - Srinagar, Jammu, Baramulla, Leh and Udhampur besides one Railway Mail Service (JKRMS) Division. The Postal Stores Depot (PSD) and one Circle Stamps Depot are the supportive outfits located at Jammu. The Circle is headed by the Chief Postmaster General with headquarters at Srinagar.
The Circle comprises nine Head Post Offices (HQs), one each at Jammu and Srinagar. The other seven Head Post Offices are located at Anantnag, Baramulla, Gandhi Nagar, Kathua, Leh, Rajouri and Udhampur. The total number of post offices in the State is 1,630.
The postal services in J&K had been functioning under great strain in the past one decade. Many post offices were temporarily shifted and made functional from other locations. About 29 post offices were relocated and four closed down temporarily due to disturbances. Of them sixteen have now been re-established at their original locations. The remaining post offices are likely to be re-established within this year.
During 1997-98, ten post offices were opened under the
Plan target and one Branch Post Office (BPO) was upgraded into a Sub-Post
Office. During the current year there is a target to open 26 post offices.
To make the organisation customer-friendly, modernisation of post offices is one of the several schemes launched by the Postal Department. Under the scheme the post offices are beautified both internally and externally. Customers are provided better comforts and facilities. Under this scheme the Head Post Offices at Gandhi Nagar, Udhampur, Kathua and the Sub-Post Offices at Jammu Railway Station and Trikuta Nagar have been covered so far.
Computerisation of several administrative and operative offices has been completed. Elsewhere, computers are being installed. Twenty-seven multi-purpose machines have been provided at counters for various transactions. Computerisation of Postal Life Insurance and Postal Stores Depot has been completed.
The Savings Bank Control Organisation (SBCO) has also been computerised at several Head Post Offices while installation of Savings Bank- Local Area Network (SB-LAN) is under progress. Computerisation of the Mail Processing System is likely to be completed this year.
To reduce the transit time in transmitting money orders,
very small aperture terminal (VSAT) services were opened by the department for
the customers?convenience. The service was commissioned at Gandhi Nagar HO in
August 1995 and linked to Jammu Tawi HO, Udhampur HO, Kathua HO, Rajouri HO and
Speed Post Network
The J & K Circle has been connected to the Speed Post Network through the Speed Post Centres at Srinagar and Jammu. Besides, several point-to-point centres have been linked with the network to further extend the service to the doors of the customers. In addition, pick up services from the customers' premises and bulk discount are also provided.
The Circle handled 44,068 thousand unregistered articles, 3,720 thousand registered articles, 0.196 thousand registered newspapers, 59 thousand insured articles, 8 thousand value paid articles and 858 thousand money orders during last year.
The J&K Postal Circle mobilised Rs.390.09 crore as savings deposits during 1997-98. Under the Savings and Recurring Deposits Scheme, Rs. 44.27 crore and Rs. 29.98 crore respectively was mobilised. Various time deposit schemes also accounted for mobilisation of substantial sums of money.
Indian Airlines and the railways cater to the needs of inter-circle transmission of mail in the State. The circles are mostly dependent on the State Road Transport Corporation for Inter-Circle movement of mail except between Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. The Departmental Mail Motor Service supplements the distribution of mail.
Officials and staff are periodically sent for refresher courses to departmental training centres to enable them to upgrade their skills. Computer training courses in local institutions are also arranged for them.
The Public Grievance and Customer Care Centres at Jammu and Srinagar handle all public complaints as a single-window system. As a result of prompt redressal of grievances, the department has earned public goodwill.
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