During the COVID-19 pandemic, sorting hundreds of mails every day that have changed several hands and going door-to-door to deliver parcels in containment areas can be a daunting task. But for Brahamanand Bilwariya, a postman in Bhopal, connecting families split by the lockdown and distributing medicines in time, is a call of duty.
“When I saw our soldiers grappling along the Chinese border on TV recently, away from their homes, I felt lucky to be staying with my family,” said Mr. Bilwariya, 40, a postman for 10 years. “If they can work in such tough conditions, why can’t we?” he wondered.
Mr. Bilwariya delivers mail every day in Kotra and Naya Basera. The pandemic has altered the rules of engagement. He either drops parcels in a patch of sunlight or at the doorstep. Before confirming receipt, some eagerly inch forward to spray sanitiser on the pen and sheet he carries, that he promptly pulls back. “Well, that’ll drench it,” he said, wearing gloves, a visor covering his face.
The nationwide lockdown paralysed rail and air networks. But shouldering the responsibility of delivering testing kits, medicines, personal protective equipment and ventilators timely, the India Post placed a north-south, east-west road transport network.
For Madhya Pradesh, Sagar, 170 km from Bhopal, became a sorting hub. “Delivery of essential items, including medical equipment and continuing banking services, became a priority,” said M.P. circle Chief Postmaster General Jitendra Gupta.
On a non-festive day before the lockdown, Mr. Bilwariya delivered around 200 mails a day which has dropped to 50 now. “Rakhi bookings have come down by half this year,” he said.
Around 8 a.m. at the T.T. Nagar post office here, tens of postmen slit open mail bags and sort mails area-wise into racks before heading out for delivery at noon.
Further, people during the pandemic were preferring doorstep banking more, said Harjinder Singh Bhatti, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Bhopal Division.
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