Allege secrecy over post offices’ merger, fear red tape over paperwork

K.S. Upadhya has lived in Thyagarajanagar for 42 years. In that time, he’s grown used to the area — located in one of the city’s oldest parts — and its pin code, 560028.

So when India Post recently issued a notice announcing that the Thyagarajanagar Post Office would be merged with the Banashankari II Stage Post Office, which has the 560070 pin code, Mr. Upadhya turned livid. “Lakhs of people are affected by this,” fumed the retired lecturer. “Why is only ours being changed? Is Basavanagudi’s pin code being changed?”

Mr. Upadhya isn’t alone; several residents of the area were anxious to retain their own pin code.

A group of them converged on Friday morning outside the Thyagarajanagar Post Office on Netaji Road. Led by the Basavanagudi councillor B.S. Satyanarayana, they signed their names to oppose the change, even stopping passersby to express their solidarity through their signatures.

‘We weren’t told’

Residents, who’ve been used to 560028 for the past 40 years or so, got to know of the change two weeks ago. They were as angry about the change as they are about the fact that they weren’t consulted. “It is a unilateral decision!” Mr. Upadhya said repeatedly.

Councillor Satyanarayana sent a memorandum protesting the change to Ananth Kumar, Member of Parliament from Bangalore South, who has forwarded it to the Chief Postmaster General.

Residents say the reasons for the change are unclear; beyond stating that it was done for convenience and efficiency, officials have not offered explanations.

The postal authorities have tried to convince residents that since the pin code (postal index number) worked essentially as an internal reference number for post offices, citizens would not be affected. The pin code itself (560028) has not been seized, said an official (who requested not to be named). “It is still valid, and people will still receive mail if they continue to use the 560028 pin code,” the official told The Hindu.

All that red tape

The main fear among residents is one that turns even battle-scarred veterans into quivering jelly: the paperwork involved in updating records.

A pamphlet produced as part of the campaign lists a series of documents that would need to be updated, including driving licence, passport, ration card, voter IDs and so on.

“We’ll have to run from pillar to post to get these updated now,” said Parthasarathy M., another retired resident of the area.

“A single spelling mistake in our passport leads to it being rejected, and now we will have to spend so much time with each record,” as Mr. Satyanarayana pointed out.

Others strike a more ambiguous note, pointing to the current lack of information about the merging. N. Vasudevan, a retired HAL official who has lived in Thyagarajanagar since 1974, said: “Since we haven’t been told exactly why they are changing it, I don’t know if it will be beneficial to us or not. If it is, I don’t mind.”

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