Friday, February 19, 2021

First airmail service in the world was started on 18 February, 1911 during Maha Kumbh in Allahabad, Prayagraj

Postal services have come a long way all over the world.  Uttar Pradesh occupies a prominent position in the development of Postal services. The city of Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh has the privilege that the world's first air mail service started from here.  Postmaster General of Varanasi Region  Krishna Kumar Yadav said that this historic event took place 110 years ago on 18th February 1911 in Prayagraj.  Incidentally, Kumbh Mela was also held that year.  On that day, French pilot Monsieur Henri Pequet created a new history.  He took 6500 letters from Prayagraj to Naini with him in his plane.  The aircraft was Heavy land Aircraft and launched a new round of the world's first official postal carriage.

 According to Postmaster General Krishna Kumar Yadav, about one lakh people gathered at Prayagraj to see the Postal flight that day when a special aircraft took off from the banks of river Yamuna at around 5.30 PM, crossed the river after travelling for 15 kilometres and landed near Naini Junction which was near the Central Jail on the outskirts of Prayagraj. The venue of the event was an agricultural and trade fair which was on the banks of the river and was named 'UP Exhibition'. Two flying machines were on display at this exhibition.  The aircraft was imported by some British officers.  It's parts were unassembled which were assembled at the exhibition site in the presence of common people.  The air journey from Prayagraj to Naini Junction was completed 110 years ago in just 13 minutes.

 Postmaster General Krishna Kumar Yadav said that although this flight was just six miles, there was a historic festive atmosphere in Prayagraj.  In January 1911, the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company sent one of its aircraft to India, which incidentally came to Prayagraj when the Kumbh Mela was also going on.  It was such a time when people hardly heard about aeroplane.  In such situation, it was natural to be overcrouded on this historic occasion.  In this journey, Henry created history and for the first time, he also saw the world's largest Prayag Kumbh from the sky.

According to Postmaster General Krishna Kumar Yadav, Colonel Y. Wyndham approached the postal authorities for sending some mail bags by air, to which the then Postal head gave his approval.  The mail bag had 'First Air Mail' and 'Uttar Pradesh Exhibition, Allahabad' written on it.  A picture of an aircraft was also published on it.  Magenta ink was used instead of traditional black ink.  The organizers were very concerned about its weight, which could be easily carried in the aircraft.  Restrictions were also placed on the weight of each letter and only 6,500 papers were allowed to be carried after careful calculations.  It took the aircraft 13 minutes to reach its destination.

  Krishna Kumar Yadav, who has written several articles and a book 'India Post: 150 Glorious Years' on postal services in India, said that the special duty of this first air mail service was kept at six ana and the income from this was donated to Oxford and Cambridge hostels, Allahabad.  A special arrangement was made for this service in advance.  Letters were booked for this till noon on 18 February.  The Oxford Cambridge hostel was so crowded for booking of letters that its condition had become like mini GPO.  The postal department also deployed three-four employees here.  3000 letters for air service reached the hostel within a few days.  Among the letters, a letter was having postage stamp of Rs 25. There were many famous celebrities of Prayagraj, Raja Maharaja and Rajkumar among those who sent letters.

In February 1911, the first airmail service in the world was started in Prayagraj - Postmaster General Krishna Kumar Yadav

 Airmail service completed 110 years of journey, started in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh


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