The postal department recently started three international business centres in Bhopal, and a month on, officials has discovered that the parcels sent by residents to their kin abroad more often than not contained food.
These articles can be sent via three categories – speed post, registered parcel and registered letter. The three nodal offices — at Bhopal GPO, BHEL Head Post Office and Arera Hills sub-post office —distribute international and domestic parcel mail, classified in seven beats, in a mechanised manner.
“The service was started on November 21 and is in compliance with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) standards. All the parcels are collected from the three centres and are sent to the Mumbai office, which dispatches it further to international centres. Local business centres also deal in pick-up, booking and consumer support services,” Bhopal postal department deputy director (mail) JP Rohit said.
According to postal department deputy manager (national shorting hub) Arvind, 150 people sent 152 parcels between November 21 — the day the IBCs began functioning — and December 21. The parcels were sent to UAE, Denmark, USA, Mauritius, Russia, Japan and the UK, among other countries.
“Bhopal residents send food items the most. We have dispatched articles such as curry leaves, spices and dry snacks to foreign countries. In addition to this, residents also send dry fruits, chickpea and wheat flour,” he said.
Arvind said that apart from food, residents send their kin documents, followed by clothes and gifts.
“The maximum limit for a parcel to be sent to foreign countries is approximately 30 kg. But it varies from country to country — for example, to the US, the maximum weight allowed is 31.5 kg, that costs ₹24,390. However, a 30 kg parcel to the UAE costs ₹7,872,” Arvind said.
The minimum weight for any parcel is 250 grams, which costs ₹673 — much lower than the average price of a private courier (₹1,200-1,500). And residents have shown their appreciation for the move by the postal department of opening international business centres in the city.
“My daughter is studying in a California university and she is very fond of Indian food. Earlier, we used to send her homemade snacks and even clothes via these private courier services, which used to cost us a lot — sometimes, the cost of sending the items would be more than the cost of the item itself,” said Nitin Madan, a hotel owner.