It is tucked away in the far corner of a site, a good 200 metres from the gate guarded by security guards. From a full-fledged grade one post office, the Vasanthnagar post office has been reduced to a single-handed post office and is located in a small room measuring no more that 10 ft X 8 ft on the Mail Motor Service (MMS) premises.
After being merged with the General Post Office in February 2010, the post office was reopened earlier this week. Satinderpal Chopra, a senior citizen and resident of Vasanthnagar, told The Hindu that the Vasanthnagar post office, which served many people in the vicinity, was merged with the GPO without any consultation with the stakeholders i.e. citizens who maintained savings accounts in this post office and local residents.
“The merger was done without any rhyme or reason. There was an eviction order, which was served on the post office that was functioning out of a rented premises. However, no appeal was filed and the post office was merged with the GPO.”
Mr. Chopra filed a writ petition in the Karnataka High Court seeking the reopening of the post office at Vasanthnagar or at the Mail Motor Service on Miller’s Road. The post office, he claimed, had nearly 15,000 account holders, mostly senior citizens. The High Court in its interim orders directed the postal authorities to reopen the post office on the Mail Motor Service’s sprawling premises. In the final order on January 8, 2013, the High Court directed the authorities to reopen the post office within two months.
“However, after two months, the court gave authorities a grace period of four months to reopen. Three days before the deadline expired, the single-handed post office was opened. There are no facilities here for the senior citizens, not even an awning to provide shade,” he complained.
The postal authorities conceded that there were no facilities for people at the office. A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said that as per the department rules, it is not justified to have a delivery office (which the old post office was) within a five-km radius of the GPO.
The current premises has a petrol outlet for the postal vehicles, a garage and there is lot of vehicular movement. “This poses a risk to citizens who want to visit the post office here. Also, after the High Court direction, several attempts were made to find a suitable location in Vasanthnagar, but the rent was high. The current location is not suitable, but we had to comply with the court order.”
The official said that the department had requested the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as well to provide some space to the post office. “There is a BBMP building in Vasanthnagar. But due to some dispute with the contractor, the building is not being used now. Once this is resolved, the BBMP has assured us of giving us the space,” the official added.