Fifty -year- old Lata Ramesh Panhade walks close to 15 kilometers every day delivering mail. Dressed in her typical navy blue sari and sports shoes,she admits that at the end of the day her feet ache and she is exhausted. Lata’s husband died at a young age,leaving her with three children. Thankfully,I had just got this job as a post-woman. I stuck to it and raised my family, she says and adds a little wryly, People tell us that because of mobiles,our work has reduced,I think it has increased. You cannot imagine the quantity and load of the mobile bills.
Latas beats are Tapkir Galli and Mandai area. A typical day for post-woman like her starts as early as 8 am. We first reach office and sort our mails. Everything is arranged area-wise. We pick our mails and arrange it according to the plot number,the lane and bylane and then start work on field by 11. For the next couple of hours we are distributing letters and making sure we have 100 percent delivery on any given day.
When she had started her work in 1983 she had a salary of R 475. Today,after 30 years of service she earns more than R 25,000 per month and is entitled to pension among other benefits. It clearly empowers her. I didnt know the perks of a government job then,I just took it because I had nothing she admits. In the last few years,Latas job as a post-woman gave her both recognition and security.
Latas story is shared by many such post-woman who work with India Post. The city,with three divisions,has 600 postmen working across areas,out of these only 48 are women. In the last three years,only four post-women were hired,though demands keep increasing.
Sujata Vijay Shirsat completes 29 years of service this year. She doesn’t know how to cycle and so does her work on foot. “I was 23,when I saw the advertisement in newspaper and applied. I gave the department exam. We had a 15 day training programme on selection. A lot of people who were recruited with me eventually left,but I have learnt a lot here. My relation with people keeps me going. says Shirsat has been working at the Deccan Gymkhana Post Office for the last two decades.
Aruna Wabane has spent 18 years of her life as a postwoman at the Kasba Peth area. She has been sort of a cultural observer. ” I have noticed that so many different kinds of people have come and settled here.There are Madrasis,Konkanis,Goans and meeting them exposes me to different kind of attitudes and mindsets,” says Aruna.More developments and better facility for these foot-soldiers have been planned by India Post. As most of these recruitment happen from the gramin dak sevak benefits are passed onto those people who really need a job like this. In fact,for the women employees a better designed bicycle is on the cards. These bicycles will be given in a years time. Space is going to be increased both in front and behind. Waterproof bags will be provided along with extended cycle stand to increase stability, says Col KC Mishra,Postmaster General,Pune division.