There have been days when even 10,000 telegrams were sent from Coimbatore. Telegraph offices were located in different parts of the city – Gandhipuram, Sundarapuram, Ganapathy, etc - apart from the Central Telegraph Office. Season wishes used to be 50 per cent of the total telegrams sent from here. It was a major mode of communication for businesses too.
The Government has decided to suspend telegram and phonogram services from mid-July. The volume of telegrams sent in a month from Coimbatore has reduced over the years to 2,000 to 2,500 now. Telegrams sent to rural areas are minimum.
“The years 1983 to 1987 were a golden period in the telegraph service,” recalls G. Gurusamy, a retired official who was associated with telegram service since the 1970s.
It was a revenue generating department and even registered profits, he says.
The Central Telegraph Office in Coimbatore started functioning on its current premises in 1948. The service was available in Coimbatore even before that. Phonogram service was offered at night hours too. Even in 1983, Coimbatore was part of the computerised system used in telegraph offices to transmit messages.
Now, the service is used mainly by political parties, lawyers, banks, government departments and industries (during protests).