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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Seethamani managing her post - in letter and spirit

Express News Service  |  09th October 2016

 V P Seethamani, post master of Vembanad Kayal post office, is engrossed in her work | Express

KOTTAYAM: Rain or blazing sun. Flood or scorching summer. V P Seethamani turns up for duty at 10.30 am - either on a country boat or on foot at Vembanad Kayal post office at R-Block, a reclaimed land at the southern tip of Alappuzha district. It’s a ritual for her for the last 27 years. 

An extra department employee (ED), the 51-year-old Seethamani, hailing from the eastern side of R-Block, has kept alive the traditional channel of communication in the era of smart phones, email, Facebook and Whatsapp. She is the post master. But that’s not a hindrance for her to manage the routines of the post office - from delivering mail to doing all the office chores. But even after that, Seethamani is still not a permanent employee of the department and only her employment category has changed - from ED to Gramin Dak Sevak (GDS).  But she has not given up. Seethamani is taking a departmental test on World Postal Day on Sunday.

It’s a tough task she has been managing close to three decades. The Vembanad Kayal post office (PIN 688006), established in 1972, perhaps is the only post office functioning in a lake in the country. Unlike in many other post offices, this office still depends on waterways for bringing and despatching mail and fetching other necessary materials. “We receive mail from the Alappuzha-Kottayam passenger boat at 12.30 pm and despatch the same via Kottayam-Alappuzha boat at 2.15 pm,” Seethamani said. The post office activities have changed in the modern era with a sharp dip in ‘letter’ communication, she said.

“We get only 4-5 letters a day. However, there is an increase in the e-money order services, savings bank and recurring deposits and in the number of customers of postal life insurance schemes and Sukanya Samridhi project,” she said.

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