Sri Lanka’s Postal Service should be renovated and modernized to cater to the needs of the busy lifestyle of the clients of current society and the competitive markets today, Minister of Mass Media Dullas Alahapperuma said.

The Minister was speaking at the 52nd commemoration of the 147th International Postal Day held at the Postal Headquarters October 9. The theme of International Postal Day this year is ‘Innovate to Recover’. October 09 was declared International Postal Day following a proposal made by Indian representative Sri Anand Mohan Arul at the 18th summit of Postal Service held at Tokyo in 1969.

The Minister who said that the contribution made by the postal workers to continue a society is incomparable pointed out recognition could be gained for the existence of the postal service if only the service is modernized to meet needs of the changing society. He said to fulfil such a task, the Postal Department should work in collaboration with the prevailing local and international agencies in the trade. Commemorating International Postal Day without commitment to such a change is fruitless as it is limited to mere traditional and conservative practices. It would never bring any productivity to the country or society.

Therefore, ‘as messengers, let’s prove before the world again and again even terrorism, Tsunami or other natural calamities such as pandemics cannot stop us of completing our duty in the field of delivery’, Minister Alahapperuma requested all postal workers to abide by the above allegiance and work in determination.

‘Although the Postal Department was established 115 years ago, the Postal Service began in this country 223 years ago. History records that the Dutch nationals set up 5 Post Offices in the Coastal areas under their rule in 1798. They declared postal regulations and postal charges and assessments in 1799. Dutch Eastern Indian Company operated the postal service at that time but was limited to official duties. It is known that the ruins of the earliest postal service is found in Egypt 2300 years ago. But the postal service was started for the first time in old Persia 2500 years ago. The ruler in Persia at that time, King Cyrus ordered its States to launch a system to enable his citizens to hand over and receive postal materials. In
addition, the King negotiated with his neighbouring Kingdoms to extend the service in the region. Even
new roads and infrastructure were built up in that regard. The word ‘mail’ is derived from the medieval
English Language. Its content is either a travelling bag or a pack. In the 14th-century, the word mail
was used to introduce a bag full of letters. During later centuries, people used to call the word mail to
name a pile of letters, and mail-bag to call a sack of letters’, the Minister stated summarizing the history
of postal service in the world and in Sri Lanka.

Minister Alahapperuma who stated that the exchange of messages is of paramount importance for the
development of mankind said an advanced civilization depends on advanced communication. The use
of the postal service for sending messages has been growing for centuries and has become a lasting
service today. The Minister said that the Postal service would have to face numerous challenges if not
for the vast development of technology and means of transport.
The development of the communication sector posed serious challenges to the Postal service. The
introduction of email is a grave challenge, so much so that the postal service was labelled as a snail-pace
service. Nearly 30 years have elapsed since the introduction of email in this country but 4112 post offices
and hundreds of postal workers who are attached to them have been engaged in a noble service of
delivering to the doorstep of our people the mail of life importance.
India claims the largest postal service in the world. Indian Postal Service came to the frontline in
delivering medicines to her citizens’ doorsteps during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister said that
it is a pleasure to mention Sri Lanka’s Postal Service has also reached such an appraisal level.
The Postal Service in the world is categorized according to its standard. Universal Postal Union of UN
does it on the basis of 170 selected counties. Four yardsticks such as confidentiality, density, relevancy
and capacity are used to measure the standards of the service of each member country. According to
such grading, Switzerland comes first, Austria second while Germany is third. The significance is that
all these countries are highly developed nations. Minister Alahapperuma requested all the postal workers
to work together to claim a proud place when positions of each country is declared at the 53rd Postal Day
to be held in 2022.
Letters of appointment to Postal Assistants of the Central Mail Exchange was also held. At the same
time, postal agency service providers including National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka Insurance
Corporation, Western Union, Sri Lanka Mobitel, Ceylinco Life Insurance, Cooperative Insurance
Corporation, Ceylinco Insurance Company, Softlogic Insurance Company, Alliance Insurance
Company and Fair First Insurance Company were commended during the International Postal Day.
The staff who contributed to increase the income of the Postal Department through International Speed
Post, Cash-On delivery Post and local courier postal service were appraised during the event.
Post-Master General Ranjith Ariyarathna handed over a memento to the Minister. Media Ministry
Secretary Jagath P Wijeweera and a group of officials from the Postal Department were present.
Video clips and pictures related to this event could be downloaded from Vishmitha Cloud account.