Kashmir’s main post office drowned in deluge

‘Rs1.25 crore loss at GPO, 40 computers with vital data damaged’

The soul of Kashmir’s famous poet Aga Shahid Ali would have been feeling restless in his grave when the raging Jhelum turned his documented thoughts about his homeland into reality. The title of Ali’s one of the leading collections—A Country Without A Post Office— best suited for the Kashmir when Jhelum water submerged the General Post Office (GPO) located on the dikes of main river, one of the major communication links between the Valley and the rest of the world even in the modern times.
The devastating floods snapped all the communication links including the one for which GPO is known for—registered and speed posts. The GPO building being closer to the river Jhelum saw water entering into all the three buildings leaving behind destruction. “Water remained in all the three buildings of GPO for over a fortnight. The entire major infrastructure has faced the brunt of flood water,” said Ajay Sharma, Public Relations Officer to Chief Post Master General at GPO Srinagar.
He said the ground floors of the all the three buildings suffered immense damage. “Some parcels, speed posts and a few important documents were destroyed by the water. We are trying to save the wet papers, documents by keeping them in the sunlight,” Sharma said. He said at least 40 computers were lost due to the floods. “We usually operate from the ground floor and that’s why huge damage took place,” he said. About the losses suffered in total, Sharma said as per the tentative figures the loss GPO has suffered is about Rs 1.25 crore in terms of equipment and infrastructure.
Ghulam Rasool Parray, senior postmaster at GPO said the flood water wreaked havoc in GPO. “The loss is huge and we have not ascertained the actual loss. The major loss is that of computers as water has badly hit all of them,” he said. “Rest of the electronic gadgets too developed faults.” The GPO premises continue to emanate bad smell caused by the muck brought by the flood water. “This will continue for some time despite the fact we have used all the disinfectants and other material to clean the buildings,” an official said.
The GPO authorities had blocked all the material, speed posts, registered posts, parcels and other important communications at its Jammu office during the floods. “Now things have started coming to normal and everything has started coming here as per the schedule. We will improve our delivery system in the coming days,” Chief Postmaster General Chandra Prakash told Greater Kashmir. “As far the losses, it will take us at least a week to come up with the final report.”
He said the primary focus is to ensure immediate delivery of the all the posts including parcels that had got stuck either at Jammu or in transit. “We have decided to keep the GPO open on October 3 and October 4 in view of the Eid-ul-Azha,” said Prakash. Meanwhile, people were coming to GPO to collect posts themselves and to inquire as to whether their posts and parcels reached Srinagar. “Despite the fact internet is still a problem, we are trying our best to ensure speedy deliveries of all the parcels and posts,” said Prakash. He said in the coming days, everything would be streamlined.

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