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Tech glitches hit Jorhat post offices

Jorhat, April 5: Customers, agents and staff of the Jorhat head post office and the Mariani branch post office are facing immense difficulty in carrying out their work since March 24 after core banking facility was installed at the two offices.

The postmaster in-charge here said crashing of computers and “link failure” was an all-India phenomenon, which should have been properly looked into before being implemented.

Agents and staff of the post offices in Calcutta, it is alleged, did not allow the system to be implemented during March — the end of the financial year —when customers usually invest high amounts to avail of tax benefits.

In Tinsukia, the agents had gone on a strike.

It was also alleged that there were anomalies in deposit of interest for senior citizens in the new system.

“We are not being able to issue NSC certificates to the customers as the persons manning the computers do not know how to operate the new system,” an agent alleged.

“Hundreds of customers have been turned back since the installation of the system. Yesterday no work was possible because link could not be established with the main server,” he added.

The postmaster in-charge said this was true not only for Jorhat and Mariani post offices but also in Guwahati and in other places of India where the system has been installed.

“We are now connected to a mother server in Chennai but most of the time we do not get the connection and the link failure message pops up on our computers. Unlike banks, where after a few minor glitches this system has been functioning smoothly, this is not the case with post offices,” he said.

The official said, most likely this was because an implementing agency failed to estimate the number of accounts each post office had.

“The Jorhat head post office has more than one lakh NSC accounts and likewise, the Mariani office has about 20,000-22,000. We are not issuing the certificates from these post offices as after logging in, four windows have to be opened to complete the transaction and it is not possible due to the time taken for one account. We have to close at 3.30pm but yesterday we closed at 5pm. After that our staff had to keep working almost till midnight,” he said.

A customer who was standing in a long queue at the head post office, said he was fed up. “This is the third day that I am doing the rounds. The first day the person manning the counter did not know how to operate the machine, yesterday there was link failure,” he said.

Agents are trying to fulfil the demands of the customers by facilitating NSCs in other small post offices where the computer system is yet to be implemented.

Doctors’ protest

Guwahati-based doctors today staged a two-hour sit-in on the premises of Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital at Panbazar to protest against the assault of a lady paediatrician of the hospital on Wednesday.

Doctors under the banner of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) condemned the assault and demanded punitive action against the culprits and adequate security. They demanded the intervention of chief minister Tarun Gogoi and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.