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Now,extra codes to sort mails faster

The daily mail-sorting exercise begins around 6.30 am every day at 92 post offices in the Capital and continues till about 2 pm.

The daily mail-sorting exercise begins around 6.30 am every day at 92 post offices in the Capital and continues till about 2 pm. While the exercise is a tough ask for the sorting staff — with illegible handwriting,torn envelopes and incomplete addresses on envelopes — the task thereafter is hardly any easier for the 1,850 postmen employed by the Delhi postal department.

But the department now feels life can be a jot easier for both sets of staff. Its idea: introduction of a two-digit “postman beat code”,to be written after the standard six-digit pin codes.

The Delhi postal department began distributing a circular this March,advising citizens about the new postman beat code. Over to the circular: “The department has introduced a new measure to ensure that your mail reaches you in a timely manner. You can assist us endeavour by writing the correct address,followed by the correct pin code as well as the postman beat code on your mails.”

The circular tells residents that they should get in touch with every person or institution that sends them mails — “banks,telephone provider,electricity provider” etc — and forward the postman beat code numbers of their particular area.

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“This exercise is part of an effort by India Post to make the postal services organisation more efficient. Many states have already implemented the postman beat code system,” S V Sadawrate,assistant director at the Ministry of Communication and IT,says.The new two-digit code is aimed largely at simplifying the mail sorting exercise and also to make it easier for postmen to identify whether a particular batch of mails is for their area.

“Delhi has grown exponentially over the last two decades and each area has at least 50 residential colonies,” Sadawrate says. “Take the New Delhi post office as an example: we have had to divide the area into 66 beats. Now,beat codes from 01 to 65 will be added after the pin code 110001.”

Then,Sadawrate says,once mails reach the delivery post office,the staff will only have to sort out on the basis of the two-digit postman beat code. “It is vastly more efficient because they no longer have to read the entire address to figure out the sector in question,” Sadawrate says.

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But despite the enthusiasm,employees say life isn’t that rosy unless the postal department figures out a way to make the public aware about the new code. “We have given circulars to all employees and asked them to drop them into every house in their area,” a postal department official (name withheld on request) says. “Hopefully,people will see the benefit of it soon.”

How hong kong does it
In a similar system,Hong Kong has 1,600 beat codes. Hong Kong Post offers a 20-per cent discount on postage for all mails marked with the beat code to make the system popular.

First published on: 11-06-2009 at 12:56:35 am
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