Health safety guidelines hamper resumption of normal postal services

Sri Lanka postal workers

Postal services are still in disarray as the timely delivery of letters and parcels continue to be hampered largely due to health safety guidelines in place following the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It has not been possible to completely restore normal delivery services as we are facing manpower and transport issues”, says Post Master General, Ranjith Ariyaratne.

He said that employees of the Central Mail Exchange (CME) have to work on a rotational basis due to lack of sufficient space to adhere to social distancing rules.

Even those reporting for duty have to face immense difficulties due to the disruption of public transport services. Some of them have to change buses at different points as entry to Colombo has been restricted, he explained.

With night mail trains cancelled due to the curfew, the Travelling Post Office (TPO) had to be abandoned and the resultant bulk mail deliveries have added to the workload, the PMG elaborated.

Letters and parcels are sorted at the TPO during the train journey to Jaffna and Badulla, which facilitates on-time delivery.

“Our fleet of vehicles is not adequate to transport all the mail bags to various points across the country”, Ariyaratne noted, while assuring that every effort is being made under trying circumstances to ensure the prompt delivery of letters. He said there was a backlog of around 150,000 letters, which are being cleared with the available manpower. “The delivery of mail to crowded common gardens in Colombo and the suburbs remain suspended due to the COVID-19 risk factor”.

It is not only the Postal Department which has been badly hit due to the coronavirus threat. Most other public and private sector institutions are also grappling with difficulties as a result of the prevailing situation, he added.

(Source: The Island – By Suresh Perera)