Do you know about the Dead Letter Office?

Every postal circle in the country has one Dead Letter Office, the nomenclature of which has been changed from the morose sounding Dead Letter Office to Returned Letter Office (RLO).
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Oct 13, 2009 07:05 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | BySatyen mohapatra, New Delhi

They give a decent burial to all the 'dead' letters - undelivered, unclaimed.

They are the officers of the Dead Letter Office, often called "morgue of the mails".

Every postal circle in the country has one Dead Letter Office, the nomenclature of which has been changed from the morose sounding Dead Letter Office to Returned Letter Office (RLO).

Hundreds of letters and parcels both registered and unregistered, which cannot be delivered to the addressee or sender land at the RLO.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, the in charge of the RLO Delhi Circle at Jhandewalan, Triveni Ram said, "Many people do not write the correct name and address. Some times we get item with just the name of the person like 'Ramdev, New Delhi' almost an impossibility to trace."

"The post offices do try to deliver the letters to the addressee but if the name or address is undecipherable or wrong or incomplete, if the addressee has changed his address with no forwarding address, or if the letter / parcel is refused to be accepted by the party concerned normally we try to send it back to the sender. But many times the name and address of the sender is not given. In that case the letter or parcel is sent to us."

Here RLO officers act as detectives trying to trace from any available clue as to the correct name and address of the addressee or sender.

Triveni Ram said, "Our task is basically to find out the addressee and deliver the item. We are authorized to open the letters and parcels which we do and sometimes the address of the sender is written inside in which case the items is sent back to the sender. Sometimes the sender refuses to take it back and it lands back with us."

"We also try all possible means to decipher the address and trace the addressee to deliver the items. Sometimes trying to find out just by name and telephoning persons of that name. We try to get any alternative address, if the person or firm has shifted."

But for large number of postal articles it is difficult to trace the owner and they remain unclaimed.

"Number of foreigners visiting the country, leave by air and send parcels by sea, sometimes giving as sender's address the address of the hotel in Paharganj in which they stayed. In case they are not there to receive the item in their home country (sometimes they do not wish to do it because of the high customs and other duties) it remains undelivered and comes back to the sender. As they are the sender and have checked out of the hotel, the item lands with the RLO"he added.

The RLO keeps all the postal articles, which are delivered there from different post offices for a year.

"Earlier after a year we used to burn all the letters and auction the articles found inside the parcels. But today we are shredding all the letters before disposing those and auctioning all the goods recovered from the parcels through approved auctioneers after taking permission from postal authorities. The sale proceeds from the auction are deposited in the unclassified receipts of the Department. Sometimes we get cash,cheques and drafts which are all deposited with the department."

The Jhandewalan RLO earns revenue of around Rs.2 to Rs.3 lakh annually from auction of these articles, he said.

In September, 2009, the RLO here received 16,600 unregistered letters, 1986 registered letters and 36 parcels, he added.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’ collects his winning certificate. (

    Manoj Tiwari, Ravi Kishan welcome ‘younger brother’ Dinesh Yadav to Lok Sabha

    Bhojpuri actors-turned politicians, Manoj Tiwari and Ravi Kishan, on Sunday congratulated fellow Bhojpuri superstar, Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua', who was elected as Member of Parliament by winning bypolls to Uttar Pradesh's Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat. Ravi Kishan thanked the Bhojpuri society 'from the bottom of my heart.'

  • A police officer from the Visharantwadi police said the complainant told the caller that he had recently cleared his dues but the caller insisted that he had defaulted and later claimed there could be some error in updating his payment. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

    Software engineer duped of Rs3.75 lakh by fraudsters

    A 41-year-old software engineer, resident of Vishrantwadi who hails from Bihar, fell prey to online fraudsters who tricked him into downloading malware on his mobile phone and siphoned off 3.75 lakh from his bank account. The man realised he was conned after he got a transaction alert for nearly 3.75 lakh ( 3.50 lakh from his account and 25,000 from his mother's account).

  • Shiv Sena workers protest at MLA Tanaji Sawant’s office at Balaji nagar, Dhankawdi in Pune. (HT PHOTO)

    Protest continues in Pune against rebel Shiv Sena MLAs

    For the second consecutive day, protests continued in Pune against rebel Shiv Sena MLAs currently camping in Guwahati, Assam. Shiv Sena workers, claiming to be loyalists of party president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray staged 'jode maro' (hit with footwear) protests at two places in the city – outside Balgandharva auditorium and in Kothrud – and raised slogans against the rebels. They were led by the Pune city unit president Gajanan Tharkude.

  • U.P. sets new record, 16 crore people fully vaccinated against Covid: Govt (PIC for representation)

    U.P. sets new record, 16 crore people fully vaccinated against Covid: Govt

    “Uttar Pradesh has achieved a major milestone by becoming the first state in India to fully vaccinate over 16 crore individuals,” the government said in a press statement on Sunday. Uttar Pradesh is followed by Maharashtra with 16.90 crore doses. The state is expected to cross 34-crore mark in total doses within this week, officials said.

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and rebel MLA Eknath Shinde. (PTI FILE PHOTO)

    Maha crisis: Sena initiates legal action against rebel MLAs, Shinde moves SC

    Amid the ongoing political crisis in the Maharashtra government fuelled by minister Eknath Shinde's rebellion, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said the party has initiated legal action and served notices to 16 rebel MLAs camping at a luxury hotel in BJP-ruled Assam. A day ago, 16 rebel MLAs, including Shinde, were issued a disqualification notice by the deputy speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, June 26, 2022