Customers at post offices across Panchkula have been facing difficulties with regard to transactions as issues relating to server and connectivity have hit the system. With the problem persisting for almost three weeks, citizens have been queuing up at their respective post offices prior to their opening. There are three post offices in Panchkula--in Sectors 4, 8 and 15.
Officials at the Sector 8 circle of the department said the problem prevailed following the department’s migration to the core banking solution (CBS) system this year. As a result, other circles of the department in various states have also been hit.
India Post has a network-based system that is linked to a central server. Transactions made throughout the country are linked to this. Owing to the massive transactions due to the financial year-end, the bandwidth suffered heavy stress resulting in the crash of the server and the links to it, an official said.
The LAN connectivity gets delinked for long periods, leaving employees helpless while logging on to the central server. Dealing with the present scenario has become a Herculean task for the staff.
A visit to the three post offices revealed that many customers, most of them senior citizens, were frustrated. They told HT that their repeated attempts at transactions proved futile, leaving them cynical about India Post’s abilities to tackle the issue.
A resident of Sector 8 said when locals argued, the staff kept assuring them that the system was buffering but even after hours of wait the transaction was incomplete.
DH Kalia, a 77-year-old retired official and a resident of Panchkula, said, “I have been standing in a queue for three hours and now the woman in charge says I should come on Monday. They are not equipped to carry out basic work.” Eighty-four-year-old DC Sharma, a resident of Dhakoli, Zirakpur, said senior citizens and women were made to wait in the regular queue though there should be separate queues for them.
Bhagat Prasad has been coming to the post office, Sector 8, for the past eight working days. “I am so frustrated and the staff is so rude and non-cooperative,” he said. Sushma Sethi, an associate professor at DAV College, Chandigarh, said, “Is it our problem if the server has been down? This is the fourth day I have been coming here and had to even miss a class because they delay things so much. There is no proper system.”
The situation at the Sector-4 post office is no different. Sushma, sub-postmaster, said, “The server problem existed till March and has now improved. Once we have taken the passbooks, we attend to all the customers even if it is beyond the prescribed timings.” The post office operates from 9am to 3pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.
The Sector-15 post office is the only one that provides some relief to citizens living there. Postmaster Anand said this was the only post office in Panchkula where the server hadn’t gone down in April. He, however, held staff shortage as a hindrance in attending to people.
According to officiating assistant postmaster Renuka Gupta at the Sector 8 post office, “The system has been updated since April. The problem persisted only till March 31. “We are trying to run things as smoothly as we can.”
Moreover, only two officials were seen attending to a crowd of over 60 people on Friday. Sub-postmaster, Sector 8 post office, Savita Singhal, said the staff shortage is a concern they had been trying to address. “My team comes early in the morning and leaves not before 7 in the evening so that customers get their work done,” said Singhal.
Despite repeated attempts, Ambala divisional officer was not available for comment.