Shortage of staff at four post offices in the city has prompted the Pune Postal Department to, for the first time, ‘outsource’ some of its work. It has tied up with nine Outsource Postal Agents (OPAs) on the basis of work-based payments, and the OPAs have been filling in for the delivery staff since April.
“As per the circular by Department of Posts, if there are vacant posts in the post offices and excessive work load, the Postal Department can tie up with OPAs to get the work done. We have not tied up with any private agency, but with individuals, on the basis of work-based payment. The charge for the various works that they carry out are finalised by the department,” said Ganesh Sawaleshwarkar, postmaster general, Pune Region.
The OPAs carry out jobs such as booking, picking up and delivering speed post, registered post, business parcel and express parcel within the city.
While as many as nine OPAs were hired in four post offices across Pune Rural, Pune City West and Pune City East in April, only four OPAs are active on the field. On why the other OPAs were inactive, Sawaleshwarkar said, “They left because they felt the payment offered for the work was too less.”
Of the four post offices where the OPAs are active, two are in Hadapsar, one in Phursungi and one in Hinjewadi.
The OPAs are paid an amount of Rs 5 per article delivered. Between April to August 31, the OPA appointed in Pune MFL delivered 2,198 articles and was paid a total commission of Rs 10,990. Likewise, the three OPAs appointed at post offices in Pune City East delivered 1,17,440 articles between April and August. Altogether, an amount of Rs 5,87,200 was paid as commission between the three OPAs.
“Since it has only been a few months… we are yet to understand all the issues that can crop up in such an arrangement. Once we are able to understand them, we will be able to fix the loopholes,” said Sawaleshwarkar.
The Pune city postal department has 1,504 personnel across 149 post offices. The postal work handled by Pune Postal Department is significantly high. On an average, 49,000 speed post articles are handled by the computerised National Sorting Hub every day. Around 70 per cent growth in parcel traffic has been registered by Pune Region in 2016-17.