Until a few decades ago, the iconic yellow post cards and blue inland letters were the only modes of communication. Post cards and inland letters are still on sale across post office counters but their numbers have drastically declined as digital communication has soared.
The Chennai city region, which sold nearly 61 lakh post cards in 2015-16, sold only 40 lakh pieces last fiscal. Similarly, the sale of inland letters has dipped from 22 lakh pieces three years ago to 13 lakh pieces in 2017-18.
Not many people use the iconic instruments for personal communication, but several institutions still put them to good use. Residents welfare associations (RWAs) in Chitlapakkam, a southern suburb of Chennai, often use post cards as an effective tool to voice their demands to the State government.
P. Viswanathan, convener of Chitlapakkam Residents’ Welfare Associations Coordination Committee, recalled how nearly 1,000 post cards with the area’s civic demands were sent to the Chief Minister. “It is one of the cheapest and most effective methods to reach out to the officials about our demands,” he said.
Besides RWAs, several retail merchants communicate new offers to their customers through post cards that still cost only 50 paise. Some large companies still use inland letters to communicate confidential information.
Postmaster General, Chennai City Region R.Anand, said, “Some large corporates print their own letters according to the specifications and use postage. Some even use printed post cards with higher postage value. We don’t have official data of uses of post cards as content should not be read while processing them.”
Postal officials said schools and colleges too buy inland letters and post cards to convey results to parents.
Send a letter, win a prize
In an effort to boost use of the post cards and inland letters, the Department of Posts is conducting a letter writing contest among school children. This year, the contest is being organised in two categories — those under 18 years and those aged above 18. The contest is open till September 30. Contestants need to write on the theme ‘Letter to My Motherland’ and send it to the Chief Postmaster General, Tamil Nadu circle.