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Walking on water, the GPO drill

Worried about waterlogged roads? Welcome to the GPO.

The general post office in Ranchi, an imposing city landmark that handles Jharkhand’s inbound and outbound mails and parcels, is a flooded ordeal for all and sundry.

Septuagenarian Vikas Kumar, a retired private firm employee standing in queue at a counter of the GPO on Tuesday, came out with soggy shoes and a sour mood. “This is simply ridiculous. The biggest post office in the state has no one bothering for its upkeep. People’s plight is seldom addressed in this city,” he said.

Rashmi Kumari, a student, was terribly hassled when she dropped an envelope onto the soppy floor. “I am here to send an application for a government job. My cursed luck that I had to waste time running around for a fresh envelope after the one I was carrying slipped off my hand,” she rued.

Retired employee of Ranchi University R. Baxla was also in queue, trying unsuccessfully not to wet her shoes and clothes. “What if I fell and broke a limb? Who would bear the cost?” she was overheard telling her fellow sufferers as no GPO staff seemed interested in a senior citizen’s gripes.

A.K. Singh, a post office agent, pointed to the source of trouble — seeping walls from where dripping water was inundating the floor.

He claimed that the chambers of senior postmaster S.K. Gupta and other officials were not affected by rainwater and hence, no one took serious note of the inconvenience GPO visitors were grappling with. “A few thousand people turn up here every day to deposit or withdraw money, send letters and job applications, fill up various forms, et al. But look, no one cares because the GPO mandarins are not among the sufferers,” Singh said.

When confronted over the soggy matter, senior postmaster Gupta nonchalantly passed the buck. “I have asked officials from the civil engineering department to come and sort out the problem. It seems water is seeping in from the damp walls. The counter floors have been flooded overnight. The issue will be taken care of,” he said without committing on when.

Asked why the GPO authorities were not hiring temporary hands — sweepers and cleaners — to fix the mess, Gupta decided to clam up.

Sources at the postal department’s Doranda headquarters expressed surprise over the flooding fault. “The GPO has a permanent force of sweepers. The authorities can easily resolve the problem without intervention of any individual or agency,” said one of them.

Sloth thy name is babu!

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