Speed posts face long delays as COVID positive staff, lack of train services hit deliveries

Speed posts face long delays as COVID positive staff, lack of train services hit deliveries

Thiruvananthapuram: The Speed Post services of the postal department in Kerala have been affected due to the reduction in train services and many of its employees contracting COVID.

Items that should have been delivered in two days within Kerala if sent by Speed Post are now being received after a week. Items sent abroad are taking two weeks to be delivered against one week earlier. Speed Post services to other states have also been disrupted.

In addition to letters, even medicines, bank cheques and RC books are being delivered late to the recipients. Letters sent by regular mail are also getting delayed a lot.

Delivery of money orders has not been significantly affected though.

According to unofficial information, about 100 postal employees in the state have been affected by COVID.

Postal items have piled up at major Speed Post hub offices. The situation is grave in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Palakkad. At the Thrissur RMS, about 30 employees are said to be COVID positive. Many offices are functioning with only a third of the total staff.

In Ernakulam, 2,000 speed post bags are lying unopened for a week due to the shortage of staff, sources said. Many post offices are no longer accepting commercial postal items.

Employees are telling senders that postal items booked through Speed Post services would get delayed. Boards mentioning the likelihood of long delays have also been put up at many offices.

At the booking and delivery points, there is a delay of up to three days in transferring items due to the lack of staff.

The movement of postal items to Kerala and other states is mainly dependent on the Railway Mail Services (RMS). Due to the shortage of trains due to the COVID outbreak, the Department of Posts has been transporting goods from Thiruvananthapuram to cities in other major districts through the road network. Post office vehicles are being diverted for this purpose also, significantly affecting the delivery of items.

Obstacles resolved: Chief Postmaster General

Chief Postmaster General (Kerala Circle) V Raja Rajan said that operations at the Speed Post hubs in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi were disrupted last week and the delivery of mails, including Speed Post, was halted after some employees were found to be COVID positive.

The problem is now fixed. The department is focusing on delivery of mails, including speed posts, without delay as now there is connectivity with major cities in Kerala through the road transport network, Rajan said, Complaints regarding non-delivery of mails will be acted upon, he said.

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