16 Jul 2013 07:54

NEW DELHI, July 15 (Bernama) -- Over 3,500 people, many of them first timers, turned up at telegraph centres in the national capital which have almost been forgotten in recent years to send a message to their loved ones during the last week of the 160-year-old telegram service.

"This is the first time I am sending a telegram. It is for my 96-year-old grandfather who lives in a village near Trichy in south-Indian state of Tamil Nadu," Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Anand Sathiyaseelan, a lawyer by profession, as saying.

Sathiyaseelan's grandfather Karuppiah resides in Vadamalaipatti village near Trichy and still has with him a copy of most of the telegrams that he had received during his lifetime.

"I remember to have sent my first telegram in 1934 from Ceylon to my parents in the same village. That time people heavily relied on telegrams. I am very sad to see end of this service which served as an important means of instant communication. At that time there were no phones," Karuppiah said via phone.

A manager in a real estate firm Vikas Arvind said he was sending greetings to his parents in Bareily.

"This I hope they will keep it as a memoir as well," Arvind said.

Talking about interest of people, Chief Telegraph Master at Centre Telegraph Office (CTO), R D Ram said: "From July 8, we have seen general public turning up. Till Saturday, 3,402 telegrams were booked by CTO with 1,326 booking alone done on Friday. Till afternoon we have had around 400 bookings."

Delhi had four centres for booking telegrams which include CTO at Janpath and Departmental Telegraph offices at Kashmiri Gate, Janakpuri and Delhi Cantonment.

Sub Divisional Engineer (Operations) at Central Telegraph Office, Kiran Pal recalled that there were around 50 telegram centres in Delhi around five to six years back that were scaled down to four at present.

"Services at Janakpuri office in New Delhi were closed on Saturday. Three centres are open Sunday. We have learnt that people are turning up at Kashmiri Gate and Delhi Cantonment offices as well. On Saturday, 165 telegrams were booked at Kashmiri Gate office. Response has been low at Delhi Cantonment centre," Pal said.