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In an age when Short Messaging Services (SMS) and e-mail is more the norm than the forgotten art of sending letters or greetings, the Tamil Nadu postal department has reported a surprising upswing in mail traffic, touching more than 25 lakh a day with a projected 20 per cent increase."Our total mail traffic per day touched 26.5 lakh letters last year with Chennai alone contributing 10 lakh. This year we plan to increase the transactions by 20 per cent", Chief Post Master General Shanthi Nair said."This includes postcards, inland letters, covers, greetings and others", she said.Nair said her department would organise more letter writing competitions for the younger generation this year to create awareness about the art of writing letters."To commomerate World Post Day that falls in October,we plan to organise more letter writing competitions across the state to create awareness of the art of writing letters", she said.The present postal system in the state has its origin in the days of the East India Company. What started as a scheme to convey mails of the Company and its servants in Madras, has now grown into a mammoth network of 12,120 post offices, reaching almost every area in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.Nair said there was an increasing interest among students to pursue philately as a hobby, compared to the past. "There are more than 190 Nehru clubs across the state in many schools (group of persons who have opened Philatelic Deposit Account (PDA) in post offices). We will encourge students to increase the clubs to more than 250 this year", she said."Philately is no longer a difficult hobby to pursue. No more hassles in collecting stamps. A person who has opened PDA account will automatically get the new released stamp from the Postal Department", she explained."As a new initative, we will organise stamp exhibitions on a particular development theme in Chennai every week, which will help the younger generation know about the latest arrival of stamps across the country", she said.Nair said her department would also set up a grand stamp exhibition concurrent to World Classical Tamil Conference to be held in Coimbatore from June 24. "All stamps would showcase various Tamil personalities, themes and events", she said."Apart from this, during the first week of July, we are also organising Philately exhibition on the sidelines of the FIFA world cup", he said adding that the stamps would showcase various football personalities and related events."Our Department is constantly taking all possible steps to highlight the importance of collecting stamps and other philatelic items among the people as a part of our heritage and culture and those items should be preserved for the future generations", Nair said.On the business angle, she said since Business-to-Business (B2B) transactions (letters) had increased, the department planned to open three more post offices in the city to handle only those letters.Reveune of B2B business increased to Rs 14.5 crore this fisal compared to Rs 13 crore last year, she said adding the department was expecting a 20 per cent growth this fiscal.She said the department has also planned to computerise 100 posts offices in rural areas to enhance their services."We will identify about 100 post offices in far flung areas that can provide a wider range of services and quick counter transactions. Productivity of staff will also increase at computerized post office as transactions are faster", she said.
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