Here is good news from Indian Post for connoisseurs of mangoes, the king of fruits, in Bengal. The postal department is planning todeliver various varieties of the fruit as well as the juicy litchis of Murshidabad to the city in its parcel vans.
The finest varieties ~ Himsagar, Lyangra and Kohitoor ~ are so far beyond reach for most people this summer because of the lockdown due to Covid-19. After its success in delivering Alphonso mangoes in Gujarat and Banganapalli, Totapuri in Karnataka and Rajasthan, the India Post is now ready to repeat it in Bengal.
Speaking to The Statesman over the phone from New Delhi, Arundhaty Ghosh, Director General of India Post, informed that during the lockdown period, India Post’ 1500-odd iconic red motor parcel vans have ferried over 1100 tons of medicines and medical equipment to various hospitals, laboratories and critical lifesaving medicines to about 1.2 million individuals directly at the doorstep within the state postal circle and outside the state.
As there is difficulty in getting migrant labourers and drivers due to the lockdown, mango orchards have been directly ferrying the mangoes in Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan to fruit mandis. India Post has already tied up with the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to transport cotton.
The Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation too is engaging India Post for home delivery of mangoes sold online. In West Bengal, the mangoes of Malda district are mostly exported while the varieties of Lalbagh and Farakka of Murshidabad district are in high demand in Kolkata and other markets of the state.
But amidst a lack of commercial vehicles, mango growers of the district have been negotiating a deal with India Post for ferrying the fruits in the parcel vans. There are about 50 such vans of capacity ranging from 2 tons to 9 tons in the Kolkata circle. The financial details are being worked out. By the end of this month the fruits will become ripe.
“Mangoes and litchis are highly perishable items and we don’t have air conditioned vans to ferry them. So, we are forced to ferry them within the state only. However, we have tied up with Indian Drug Manufacturers Association and in the 25 days during the first lockdown period we have collected bulk consignments of life saving drugs from the factories of top pharmaceutical companies in Gujarat and delivered to the stockists all over the state,” Mrs. Ghosh said.
India Post also delivered medical equipment imported from abroad and ventilators manufactured in Pondicherry.
“During the lockdown period we have delivered about 2750 numbers of ‘Mylab’ Covid -19 test kits ( each containing 100 individual testing capacity) from Pune to hospitals, R&D centres, laboratories in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, MP, Telangana, TN, Delhi, Karnataka. We also handled diplomatic consignments of MEA,” she added.
Mrs Ghosh informed that through the helpline number and India Post info app over 100 patients of West Bengal have been sending requests for doorstep delivery of critical medicines. The main problems India Post has been facing now are due to the cargo flights and parcel trains running irregularly instead of the normal scheduled mail trains and commercial daily flights for long distance delivery.
A number of post offices in red zone areas under Kolkata Circle like Khidderpore, Manicktola, Bangur Avenue, Tangra, Sarata Bose Road and Alipore have had to be closed, making consignment delivery difficult in those areas.