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Long climb to get justice delivered at post office

- Senior citizens have to walk up five floors to lodge complaint as lift has not been working for one year

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 27: Rheumatic knees, weak heart notwithstanding, if a senior citizen has a complaint to lodge with the postmaster general’s office, he will have to climb five flights of stairs. The lift has not been working for the past year.

Senior citizens here are a harried lot, as they have to climb stairs to register their grievances relating to postal delivery and other related matters at the grievance cell at the postmaster general’s (PMG) office located on the fifth floor. The last time the office lift worked was one year ago.

“Climbing up and down on the stairs has been arduous task for us as the lift is not functioning,” said Sarat Chandra Das, a senior citizen who had come to the office today.

Das said he had to come to the grievance cell, as he was not proficient in sending the complaint through email. Echoing Das, another senior citizen Bijay Mohanty said: “Of course, the age of Internet has come off late in Odisha. But we have been accustomed to sending our complaint either through letter or by appearing in person before the authorities. However, as no importance is given to the postal letter carrying the complaint, we have to come to the office.”

“Not only are commoners harassed, employees working at the PMG office are also experiencing a lot of hardship because of the malfunctioning lift. The physically-disabled staff are finding it tough to go upstairs, particularly to the third, fourth and fifth floors,” said an employee of the PMG office, requesting anonymity.

The officials manning the grievance cell also admitted that though they were getting complaints through the Internet, people are still coming to lodge their complaints in person. “We are getting at least five to six complaints daily,” an official said.

The departmental staff lamented that even though they had been drawing the attention of the higher authorities to the problem, no one paid any heed.

After getting frequent complaints, the PMG authorities have planned to solve their problem to a certain extend. “Now we are allowing people to use the lift meant to carry goods. It can go up to the third floor. However, people who want to go to upper floors have to walk upstairs,” said a senior official of the PMG office.

However, the officials are keeping their fingers crossed about the lift being repaired. “We have already put up the file. But no concrete decision has been taken as the cost of the new lift comes to around Rs 30 lakh. The higher authorities are yet to take a decision in this regard,” said an official.

He said one could also approach the local post office and the Bhubaneswar head post office to lodge one’s complaint.