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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Government to give ceremonial farewell to telegram services

PTI  New Delhi, June 13, 2013
First Published: 19:24 IST(13/6/2013) | Last Updated: 19:26 IST(13/6/2013)

The 160-year old telegram services in the country which are to be discontinued from July 15 will be given a ceremonial farewell.

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"We will bid it a very warm farewell and may be the last telegram sent should be a museum piece. That's the way in which we can bid it a warm farewell," telecom and IT minister Kapil Sibal said.

The first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour in 1850 and next year it was opened for the use of the British East India Company. In 1854 the services were opened for public.

The state-run telecom firm BSNL has decided to discontinue the services following huge gap between the average annual revenue of around Rs. 75 lakh it generated compared to cost of over Rs. 100 crore it had to bear to run and manage it.

"In last fiscal year, establishment cost for telegram services was Rs. 130 crore whereas revenue were not even a crore. We consulted with Department of Posts and they also agreed that there are better options available for communication," a BSNL official said.

There are around 75 telegram centres in the country with less than 1,000 employees to manage them. BSNL will absorb these employees and deploy them for managing mobile services, landline telephony and broadband services.

"There are average of around 5,000 telegram sent everyday from all the centres. These are from certain government departments, business class and by people in events of death," senior general manager for telegraph services at BSNL, Shameem Akhtar said.

Faced with declining revenues, the government had in May 2011, revised the telegram charges after a gap of 60 years. The telegram charges for inland services was hiked to Rs. 27 per 50 words from Rs. 3/50, 4/50 earlier.


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