Usage of postcards, inland letters dip
Perhaps it is not surprising in this age of instant communication via e-mails, SMSes and social networking, but reply to a Right to Information (RTI) Act query has shown that the usage of postcards and inland letters has declined sharply in the country.
According to the Department of Posts, in the 10 years from 1999-2000 to 2008-09, the annual use of postcards declined from 336.45 crore to just 78.24 crore. Inland letters' sales dropped from 355.56 crore to 98.18 crore in the period.
The postal department also revealed that even the use of registered post has declined, as many opt for speed post which is faster.
"The usage of registered post was 56.76 crore for the year 1999-2000, which has dropped to 31 crore for the year 2008-09," the reply from the postal department said.
“It is senseless to bear huge subsidy in pricing postcard too low at just 50 paise and by continuing inland-letter card service, which has since lost its popularity and utility," RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agrawal said Monday.
“Department of Posts should discontinue inland-letter card service altogether and Meghdoot, a variety of post card priced at Re.1, should replace ordinary postcards so that an appreciable part of subsidy may be borne by advertisers sponsoring the Meghdoot postcard,” he added.
However, the postal department said they could not discontinue the services.
"We cannot discontinue postcards and inland letters just like that. We deliver about 1,575 crore mails every year, linking every nook and corner of the country through a network of 1,54,149 post offices and 5,64,701 letter boxes," a postal department official said, not wishing to be named.
Of course, some old-timers rue the days gone by.“Gone are the days when we used to wait for the postman to deliver letters... it is definitely sad that those cream postcards and folded blue inland letters are not used,” said V. Ramani, a 63-year-old retired post master.
Like many, Ramani also adores the letters which were written by her husband 30 years ago, which she says, cannot be compared to today's e-mails and SMSes.