Hundreds of parcels, bulk mails and even speed posts, which were cleared from several post offices, have not been delivered and have been lying unattended on various platforms of at the Chennai Central Station for over a week now. The lack of postal staff at the station – referred to as multi-tasking staff – is the main reason

Several bags bearing the logo of the India Posts are lying unattended on various platforms of the railway station. The tags on some of the bags indicated that they were despatched from the post offices on June 21 and were to reach Coimbatore. Some others were to be delivered to Visakapatnam or Bangalore and were despatched on June 22 and 23.

Many of the bags were left open and with dark brown paan stains on many of them. Postal staff said on an average, 5,000 bags were received at the station daily. The multi-tasking staff sort the bags and take them in a trolley to various platforms.

Over the past decade, the number of multi-tasking staff has dwindled from 460 to 150. Vacancies have not been filled. Casual labourers hired to bridge the gap often do not stay on due to poor salary.

A postal staff member at the station said, “We work in three shifts and get paid Rs.15 for every hour as overtime charges. A casual labourer would be paid Rs.20 for each hour. Many labourers discontinue as the salary is poor for the arduous work. There are not enough people to sort and load the mail bags into the respective coaches.”

Members of the National Federation of Postal Employees said that the postal department disburses the overtime charge that was fixed over three decades ago. There was also a dire shortage in the number of trolleys.

“Sometimes, the trains scheduled to arrive in a particular platform would be rescheduled to another platform and we have to rush to that area with a broken trolley. This problem of delayed in delivery has been there for several months now,” said a multi-tasking employee.

Postal officials said they were taking measures to increase the number of staff. “We get double the amount of bulk mails during this season (between March and June) as many corporates send their annual reports,” said an official. The department has requested Southern Railway to provide space in special trains to clear the mail backlog.w

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