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Their job of connecting people often goes unnoticed

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UNTIRING EFFORTS: Courier delivery staff getting ready for their day’s work at Anna Nagar in Chennai.
UNTIRING EFFORTS: Courier delivery staff getting ready for their day’s work at Anna Nagar in Chennai.

K. Lakshmi

Courier delivery staff pedal their way through the nooks and corners of Chennai

CHENNAI: Rain or shine, they pedal around the nooks and corners of the city to deliver various kinds of documents and parcels. The contribution of courier delivery staff in connecting people often goes unnoticed.

With the courier industry growing in numbers and getting competitive, courier delivery staff are often loaded with work to deliver letters or parcels in minimal time.

Early

Most of the courier delivery staff start their day as early as 8 a.m. to collect their material from the despatch office and work through the day cycling to different localities.

It is well beyond the normal office hours when they wind up work.

It is mandatory for them to know cycling. While some get their commission based on the number of covers or parcels delivered in a day, others are paid a salary and allowance.

Earnings

James Manimaran of First Flight Couriers, Perungudi, said, “I switched over from my job as an electrician eight years ago. On an average, I deliver 250 covers to earn Rs.500 daily. But the day’s earnings also depend on the number of goods we receive.”

“We cannot merely shove covers between the gaps of gates or return with many undelivered documents as we are answerable to clients in case of loss of letters,” he said.

He sits at office till late evening to record details about contact information of those who received the parcels or letters.

On the risks involved in the job, he said, “I once ran into trouble for a wrong delivery of a cover that had a cheque for Rs.35 lakh. I had to sort out the issue with the house owner who had forgotten to give it to the client.”

K.Elumalai of Repute Express Courier travels a distance of 20 km to interior places of the western suburbs from his office at Villivakkam.

He said that he has learnt to locate new addresses over the years of experience in the field.

“I am used to the blazing sun as well as sharp showers. While I take short breaks under tree shades to escape the heat, I have never thought twice to wade through water-logged streets. The real challenge lies in delivering the documents or parcels, and ensuring they don’t get wet,” he said.

He rarely takes leave as he has to bear a cut of Rs.200 in his monthly salary of Rs.4,000.

He has gained regular customers who treat him as a friend. “A few of them say that I resemble their relative.”

He cited instances of persons posing as courier boys and committing crime.

The industry is also most sought after by college students as part-time jobs.

M. Vemban a college student at Anna Nagar works during the evenings to earn Rs.2,000 every month.

Initially, he found it difficult to find out addresses and was trained for three days to locate streets and house numbers.

“It may be a mundane job. But, I like this job as the watchword is speed as I have to clear the documents on the same day. I feel important as I am responsible for the delivery of letters or parcels that may be the lifeline to someone,” he said.

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