Postal service facing existential crisis

Postal service facing existential crisis

Kathmandu denizens have stopped making use of the traditional postal system due to increased access to modern means of communication.

Of the 72 letter boxes in Kathmandu, only 10 are being used at present. Two decades ago, temple shaped letter boxes were a common sight in the Valley. However, only a few of them remain to this day.

Madan Bahadur KC, a non-gazetted first class officer at Sundhara-based General Post Office, said people gradually shifted to modern technologies since the 90’s with the introduction of the Internet in Nepal.

The Internet , telephone and mobile phone, and other modern means of communication have narrowed the usage of the letter box. “People prefer to communicate over phone and the Internet than to post letters,” said KC.

However, tourists continue to send letters through the postal system. The letter boxes installed at Thamel, Tribhuvan International Airport, Bhrikuti Mandap, Basantapur, Darbarmarg and Pashupatinath are filled with letters and post cards posted by tourists.

KC informed that over 8,000 letters and post cards were posted in a letter box at Thamel, generating more than Rs 250,000 revenue per day. Europeans, Americans, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, among other tourists, continue to use the traditional postal system.

General Post Office delivers the posted letters within 15 days and earns over Rs 20 million revenue from the 10 letter boxes.

“The tourists still regard postal system as an effective means of communication. They comprise 99 per cent of the modern users of the traditional postal system,” said KC.

Kumar Shahi, 30, of Bhotebahal said he grew up seeing a letter box in his locality, but never posted any letter. “The letter box stands useless in our locality. I’ve never spotted anyone posting letters in it. But the GPO still turned down the locals’ request to remove it,” he said.

Postal service formally began in Nepal in 1878 with the establishment of GPO.

Source: THT