Telegram&’s last hurrah not over yet
press trust of india
New Delhi, 21 July
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.
Even after a week of booking their cherished telegrams, many, including those who used the ‘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 the telegrams, a service that I never used in my life, as it was turning to history,” said Delhi-based businessman Sanjeev Yadav.
“With so much delay in delivery, the government has killed the meaning of the telegram,” Mr 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 the widespread of mobile phones.
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 the last day of its service compared to the daily run of 5,000.
Mr M S Seth, another customer, expressed disappointment at not receiving telegrams till date which were booked for local addresses.
“I drove for 20 kilometres to book telegram, stood in the queue for around three hours, in the 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,” Mr Seth said. No comments were received from BSNL, which was in charge of telegram service operations.
On 16 July, a BSNL spokesperson said all booked telegrams have been despatched with the help of using 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 a telegram by post. It used to get them 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 5 to 6 years ago,” Karuppiah said over the phone. Sathiyaseelan said his grandfather ran a business in Sri Lanka and had sent his first telegram in 1934 to his parents.