It is becoming a common sight to find women managing many government bodies in and around Calangute.
While Calangute Panchayat is led by Ana Maria D’Souza, the neighbouring panchayats of Candolim, Arpora-Nagoa and Parra are headed by Sandra Fialho, Sushma Nagvekar and Delilah Lobo respectively.
And now, two women are entrusted to manage affairs at the Calangute post office, one of the busiest post offices in the area. But there is a slight difference between the women sarpanchas and the two women employees at the Calangute post office.
While the women sarpanchas have accepted their responsibilities by choice, a unexpected compulsion has forced the two women to handle affairs at the Calangute post office.
Since the transfer of the postmaster at the Calangute post office almost two months ago, the burden of handling day-to-day transactions has fallen on the two women employees. They are expected to carry out normal routine duties like postal deposits, withdrawals, sales of stamps and post-related matter, besides payment of telephone bills, etc. As a result of the work overload, customers spend considerable time waiting in queues at the post office.
Incidentally, the staff shortage is not the only problem plaguing the Calangute post office.
The renovated Calangute Post Office was inaugurated by M S Bali, Chief Post Master General, on August 25, 2008, with a promise to computerise the postal services.
However, the ‘Information Kiosk’ has virtually become redundant and the only positive outcome of the renovation is that the Calangute Post Office has better premises.
“The Calangute Post Office was to be fully computerized with the availability of information at the ‘One Touch Computerized’ information on instant money orders, speed post, letters, parcels, tariff, weight, etc.
However, this system is yet to see the light of day, while other services like keeping a track on the delivery or status, etc, of one’s documents sent through the postal service is only a dream,” remarked a source.
Speaking to Herald, a regular postal customer said: “When the post office was being renovated and inaugurated, I had hopes that this post office would have the latest facilities. But, we are still living in the old age of serpentine queues for our postal deposits, payment of telephone bills, etc.”
“Though the two women staffs are doing a commendable job, we have to spend considerable time to avail of the services,” the customer added.
When contacted, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices of Goa Division S Shivram admitted that the post office has been “hard hit due to shortage of staff.”
“There have been no recruitments for long and hopefully it will be done soon,” said Shivram.
“As for the post master, one of the lady staff has been designated for it and everything will fall in place. We, however, understand the hardships of customers at times, who have had to stand in long queue, which is due to staff shortage,” added Shivram.
Responding to ineffective ‘Information Kiosk’, Shivram replied: “We will try to put the ‘Information Kiosk’ to use for the general public and meet their demands. Improving the services at the post offices at St Cruz, Calangute, etc, are our priority,” he informed. [H]