Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Prayag has always been a pioneer in the Postal Services

World Post Day is celebrated across the world on 09th October. Today in the times of e-Mail and SMS, letters are still there in the minds of people. A lot of us may not be aware, but Allahabad is credited with many firsts in the world of Postal Services. First Air Mail, Railway Mail and other Postal Services started from Allahabad.

Mr. Krishna Kumar Yadav, Director Postal Services, Allahabad Region told that being strategically important, Britishers emphasized on development of Postal Services in Allahabad. World’s first Air Mail was started in Allahabad on 18 February, 1911 in Allahabad. The plane carrying about 6500 letters took-off from the Polo Ground of Allahabad and after a flight of 13 minutes it landed on a ground near Naini Railway Station. After that these postal articles were dispatched further using other modes of transport. Postal Director Mr. Yadav told that as per records, Colonel Windham contacted Postal officer for the sending some articles through Air Mail for the first time, and the then chief of Posts gladly accorded his permission for it. On the mail bag carrying first Air Mail, ‘First Aerial Mail’ and ‘Uttar Pradesh Exhibition, Allahabad’ was written. There was a restriction on weight of letters and only 6500 carefully sorted letters were allowed for transport. This flight which lasted for only 13 minutes created a history. Letters which were carried through First Air Mail were addressed to people across the world, out of which one letter was sent to Jawahrlal Nehru by his father Motilal Nehru. Many British officers wrote letters to King George V. A special postage stamp was also created for that day.

Railway Mail Service is also said to be started in Allahabad. Krishna Kumar Yadav, Director Postal Services, Allahabad told that after beginning of Railways, a Railway Sorting Section was started between Allahabad Kanpur route, for the first time in India on 1 May, 1864, which eventually emerged as Railway Mail Service.

Mr. Krishna Kumar Yadav, who has also authored a research based book on India Post named “India Post: 150 Glorious Years” told that just after the release of World’s first Postage Stamp in Britain on 6 May, 1840, next year in 1841 a horse-cart mail service was started between Allahabad and Kanpur. A rich merchant of Allahabad Lala Thanthimal, whose business was spread up to Kanpur, is credited with launch of this horse-cart mail service, Britishers also used to trust him. After construction of G. T. Road, mail was carried by this road through ‘Paalki’ and horse cart, in which a horse used to travel 7 kilo meters. Freight was to be paid immediately at the rate of one paisa per half tola. From Allahabad to Bithur ‘Daak’ was transported through Ganga river. ‘Daak Harakkara’s used to travel through forests, so as a measure of their security, they used to carry a bell on their belt and a spear for protection. In the year 1850 Lala Thantimal founded ‘Inland Transit Company’ in association with some Britishers, and after Allahabad, he started horse-cart service between Kanpur and Kolkata. In coming years this service was extended to prominent cities like Meerut, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Banares etc. Being situated at the center of all these cities, role of Allahabad was very important. As such, Lala Thanthimal is credited with starting the first company of Postal System in India. In 1854 with integration of Postal Services as a department, Inland Transit Company was also merged with this department. 
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