The 163-year-old telegram service may have technically come to an end a week ago, but for many who rushed to be part of history by sending a last telegram the journey is not yet over.
Even a week after booking telegrams, many — including those who sent a taar for the first time in their life — are still awaiting confirmation that the messages have indeed been delivered to the rightful recipients.
“Delay in delivery”
“I booked eight telegrams on Sunday, but none of them have reached the recipients. I rushed to book the telegrams, a service I never used in my life, before it became history,” says Delhi-based businessman Sanjeev Yadav.
“With so much delay in delivery, the government has killed the meaning of telegram,” said Mr. Yadav, who stood in the queue at the Central Telegraph Office for around two hours.
The telegram, once the fastest mode of communication, lost its sheen with advent of telephones and later mobile phones.
Still, hundreds crammed into 75 telegram offices across the country to send souvenir messages before the service was shut down.
As a result, over 20,000 telegrams were booked on last day of its service, compared to a daily run of 5,000.
M.S. Seth too expressed his disappointment at his telegrams booked for local addresses not being received till date. “I drove for 20 km to book the telegrams, stood in the queue for three hours in the rain just because this service was being shut down. But after so much effort, there has been no result. I just pray that my telegrams get delivered properly.”
No comments were received from BSNL, which was in-charge of the telegram service operations.
BSNL decided to discontinue the services following huge gap between the average annual revenue of around Rs.75 lakh compared to cost of over Rs.100 crore.
On July 15, BSNL claimed to have despatched 12,568 out of 20,000 telegrams that were booked on July 14.
On July 16, a BSNL spokesperson said all booked telegrams had been despatched with the help of the company’s own staff and India Post.
The first 30 words in a telegram cost Rs.29 and Re.1 thereafter for every word — umpteen times more expensive than the short messaging service or e-mails used for communications at present.