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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

'Taar' lingers on as hundreds of telegrams remain to be delivered

PTI  New Delhi, July 21, 2013
First Published: 14:11 IST(21/7/2013) | Last Updated: 14:13 IST(21/7/2013)

The 163-year old telegram service may have technically come to an end a week ago but for many who rushed to be a part of history by sending their last telegrams, the journey is not over yet.

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Even after a week of booking their cherished telegrams, many - including those who used 'Taar' for the first time in their lives - are still awaiting confirmation that the messages have indeed been delivered to the rightful recipients.

"I booked eight telegrams on Sunday but none of them has reached. I rushed to book telegrams, the service that I never used in my life, as it was turning into history," says Delhi-based businessman Sanjeev Yadav.

"With so much delay in delivery, the government has killed the meaning of telegram," Yadav, who stood in the queue at Central Telegraph Office for around two hours, said.

The telegram, once the fastest mode of communication, lost its sheen with advent of telephone and later with widespread mobile coverage.

Still, hundreds crammed into 75 telegram offices in the country to send souvenir messages before the service was shutdown after running for 162 years at a stretch. As a result, over 20,000 telegrams were booked on last day of its service compared to daily run of 5,000.

Another individual, MS Seth expressed disappointment at not receiving telegrams till date which were booked for local addresses.

"I drove for 20km to book a telegram, stood in the queue for around three hours in rain just because of emotions that this service will no longer exist. But after putting so much effort there has been no result. I just pray that my telegrams get delivered properly," Seth said.

No comments were received from BSNL, which was in charge of telegram service operations.

On July 15, BSNL claimed to have despatched 12,568 out of 20,000 telegrams that were booked on July 14.

On July 16, a BSNL spokesperson said all booked telegrams have been despatched with the help of the company's own staff and India Post.

Karuppiah, a 96-year old resident of Vadamalaipatti village near Trichy, received a telegram from his grandson Anand Sathiyaseelan after four days.

"This time I got telegram by post. It used to get delivered in around 2 hours even when I booked it from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for my parents in this village. There were many telegram offices earlier but the number is now very less. The nearest telegram office to our village was closed , I think, around five to six years back," Karuppiah said on phone.

Sathiyaseelan said his grandfather ran a business in Sri Lanka and had sent first telegram in 1934 to his parents.

First 30 words in telegram cost Rs. 29 and Re 1 thereafter for every word - umpteen times more expensive than short message service or e-mails used for communications at present.

BSNL decided to discontinue the services following a huge gap between the average annual revenue of around Rs. 75 lakh compared to cost of over Rs. 100 crore.


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