Breaking news: A Post Office in Daryaganj

The Post Master General of Delhi has promised a post office especially for publishers in Daryaganj, known as India’s publishing hub. Acknowledging the business potential of publishers in Daryaganj, Sujit Kumar Chowdhury says he is willing to understand and resolve their problems if representatives from the publishing community sit and discuss with him their specific issues. ‘I know who my competitors are, and if publishers are shifting from post office to other private services then that is a matter of concern for us. Just to serve the publishers of Daryaganj, I am willing to open a post office over there catering to their special needs. In fact there would be no need for them to even go to the Foreign Post for their overseas packages’, says Chowdhury. Publishers

also face tracking problems with India Post and Foreign Post. Foreign Post recently held a meeting with the airlines to try and fix the tracking issue. They are now going to provide Foreign Post with a software which will integrate with their existing one and is going to provide it with point-to-point detail of where the package is, says Area Manager R K Sharma.

Of the 9,000 publishers in India, most of them are huddled in a fairly small area in Delhi— Daryaganj. Therefore a


large amount of their business depends on shipping books from Daryaganj to different parts of the country or abroad, for which they use India Post and Foreign Post as well as courier services.‘The procedure to send something through the post office is very long and cumbersome, and our office boys almost always spend an entire day if they go for post office work. We cannot afford such time delays,’ says Kamal Singh Rawat, Administrative Head, Arihant Publication. For publishers, posting their item is just the beginning, after which their real struggle starts of waiting and wondering when their books are going to be delivered. also face tracking problems with India Post and Foreign Post.

Foreign Post recently held a meeting with the airlines to try and fix the tracking issue. They are now going to provide Foreign Post with a software which will integrate with their existing one and is going to provide it with point-to-point detail of where the package is, says Area Manager R K Sharma.

Of the 9,000 publishers in India, most of them are huddled in a fairly small area in Delhi— Daryaganj. Therefore a large amount of their business depends on shipping books from Daryaganj to different parts of the country or abroad, for which they use India Post and Foreign Post as well as courier services.‘The

The Indian postal department is not all in shambles. In fact, it has the largest network of delivery across the country, and is able to reach places where other private services are not. This is not lost on any of the publishers who, in spite of their problems, are quick to avail India Post’s services while sending their packages to remote places, sensitive areas, army bases or anywhere in the North East, where packages are delivered even through aircrafts of the Indian Air Force. In fact, there have also been instances of many private companies using the postal department to ship off their own couriers.

Daryaganj publishers generally use the postal department and other private carriers. Even

non-Delhi publishing houses manage to have and want at least a holding area, an address, howsoever tiny, in Daryaganj. While India Post is the cheaper and more affordable option for the publishers, it is also the cause of countless nights of worry on account of the postal department’s delivery speed, or lack thereof. Book Link took the problem to Delhi’s Post Master General. India Post offers services like pick-up, fast delivery and tracking, but those are for their premium services which most publishers are not able to afford for regular posting. ‘We send all our books through the Registered Post, and every day, I spend most of my day, attending so many phone calls from customers who complain they have not yet received their books. Tracking does not help either because you don’t get much useful information other than whether the package has been dispatched or delivered,’says Pradeep Verma, Warehouse Manager, Dhanpat Rai Publications.

Refuting their claims however, Sujit Kumar Chowdhury, Post Master General, Delhi Circle says, ‘Our trace and track system run by RNet (Registered Network) provides for end to end tracking in registered post. Maybe, because of infrastructural problems in remote areas where electricity is not available or manpower is lacking

or internet infrastructure is not there, the tracking may not be done. But our IT is at a fairly high level.’ However, even with their strong network and large workforce (India Post is the third largest government department with over 1,55,015 post offices across the country and employing over 4.66 lakh employees), the India Post is fast losing a lot of their business coming from publishers to private courier companies like DTDC and Trackon.

‘Our books are very expensive and we cannot afford to cause delay or risk mishandling of books. So we only use different private services depending on where the package has to be sent,’ says Kartik Kushvah of Quest Books Company, who is also the Secretary of Delhi State Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (DSBPA). ‘Also, private services are more accountable than the Indian postal department, where once you give your package for delivery they don’t bother anymore or feel time bound to deliver them,’ Kushvah adds. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publication’s Customer Service Executive, Iftikhar Ahmed says, ‘We’ve had sale and customer losses because of lack of service from post office. We have now stopped using them altogether, and only use private services.’ As Arihant Publication’s Rawat says, ‘Now we have stopped using their services mostly.’

Publishers have to deal with the Foreign Post. For sending articles abroad, the postal department has tied up with several international airlines. But the route taken by the airlines is of their choice, leading to a very unique problem faced by publishers, Anil Varma of Star Publications explains. ‘I wanted to send a package to Mauritius for which there are direct flights from all major Indian cities and so the delivery should ideally take only 4-5 days. But when even after 15-20 days the package was not delivered and I started receiving complaints from my customer, I tried to raise the issue with the post office to find out where the package was. It turned out the shipment was lying somewhere in France.’ This was because India Post has ties with Air Lufthansa; so from Delhi the package first went to Germany, then to France, and from there it would go to Mauritius; and somewhere in between transactions the shipment got delayed. Varma also complained that it was difficult for them to track international shipments as well, and he had sent his shipments through speed post, one of India Post’s premium services.



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