Twelve post offices networked:
Modernisation of Postal Department
Minister Kumaratunga launches the network.
Pic: Dushmantha Mayadunne
The Postal Department has networked 12 post offices under the first
phase of its networking project. Beyond its traditional services, the
Department is gradually turning into a modern telecommunication service
The State owned Postal Department which was earlier dependent on a
few services has expanded its boundaries with the introduction of modern
The Postal services Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga officially launched
the networking from Piliyandala post office last week, introducing seven
types of services, namely registered mail and parcel tracking service,
utility-bill payment service, address verification service, e-mail to
post and post to e-mail service, mail forwarding service and mail
The Central Postal Exchange in Colombo, Moratuwa, Mt. Lavinia,
Piliyandala, Kalutara, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Balangoda, Chilaw,
Galle, Badulla and Nittambuwa post offices have been networked. The
Postal Department plans to network another 200 post offices in three
months and to complete the networking of 645 main post offices by June
Now the Postal Department will be able to provide various services to
customers as a result of networking.
Senior Lecturers Faculty of Information and Technology of University
of Moratuwa, Visaka Nanayakkara, Chathura de Silva, Shehan, Malaka
Walpola, Project Director, Udaya Kasthuri, Software Engineers, Chandana
Bandara, Mahesh Shanaka and Lasantha Fernando worked tirelessly to
successfully network the post offices.
The Postal Department, on a concept of Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga
under the "Mahinda Chinthanaya" national development concept implemented
postal networking nearly two years ago. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had
allocated Rs. 600 million for this project.
Postal Services Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga while addressing the
launch of network at the Piliyandala Post Office described the
networking as a turning point in the history of Postal Department.
The Postal Department and people are two inseparable factions. The
networking of post offices will help further bridge the gap between the
city and the village, the Minister pointed out.
Mail tracking service, Utility-bill payment, demand payment, address
verification, E-mail, mail forwarding and mail holding services are
available to the networked post offices, Minister Kumaratunga said.
Minister Kumaratunga noted that the Postal Department earlier
provided a limited number of services to customers, such as delivery of
letters and parcels, sale of stamps and sending money orders. Beyond all
these traditional services, now the Postal Department is able to provide
various other services to customers as a result of networking.
In addition to these services available in the post offices, the
Ministry plans to introduce various other services for the convenience
of customers, the Minister said.
Minister Kumaratunga expressed confidence that the Postal Department
will turn into a prominent telecommunication service provider in Sri
"We have the ability to solve all problems prevailing in the Postal
Department with the introduction of new software," Minister Kumaratunga
Unwanted delays, missing of letters and parcels can be prevented, the
Postal Services Minister said.
Minister Kumaratunga recalled that the service provided by the Postal
Department even during the conflict period. The Postal Department is the
only department which linked the North with the South.
Sri Lanka Post (SLP) has a history over 200 years. It serves the
people from city to village. Because of its impartial service it has won
a prestigious name among people. During the 1798s five post offices were
set up in Colombo, Galle, Mannar, Jaffna and Trincomalee. Captain A
Kennedy was the Postmaster General in Sri Lanka during this period.
Sri Lanka Post is the primary communication mode of people in remote
villages till then to now. This service must be improved to meet the
growing demand which has arisen resulting from globalisation.
Providing a limited number of services is not sufficient to meet the
demand of a commercially globalised world.
There are over 22,000 employees in the Postal Department. The
Department is running its islandwide service with help of these
employees. With a view to provide efficient and effective service to
customers, Sri Lanka Post has absorbed the modern telecommunication
knowhow. Delivery of letters and parcels, cancellation of stamps and
issue of post cards were the services provided by post offices. Passing
all traditional services, the SLP has turned into an institution which
provides modern services to customers with the help of modern
Post offices will be developed with all modern telecommunication
facilities. Now various needs of the customers can be fulfilled by the
post offices, according to the Postal Services Ministry, sources.
The sources said that there are nearly 645 main post offices, 3,408
sub, 499 agency, 159 rural agency, 58 estate agency post offices
throughout the country.
Altogether the Postal Department plans to provide 18 types of
services including the recently introduced services.
The Postal Services Ministry said that working project of post
offices were started two years before. With the absorption of modern
telecommunication technology the Postal Department is turning into a
giant in the telecommunication market.
The Postal Services Ministry said that the Government,
semi-Government institutions and business institutions will benefit. The
introduction of such services at the post offices will end the monopoly
of private sector in the telecommunication market.
The sources pointed out that for the past few decades the postal
service of this country has lagged behind due to the introduction of
modern technology in communication sector. The Government has laid a
strong foundation to rebuild the postal service with the assistance of
the Treasury. The only productive means to develop the postal service is
to penetrate other markets expanding the area without depending on a few
The Postal Department plans to introduce various other services such
as mail logistics, virtual fax service, regional service, philatelic
service, prepaid account, scangram, video calling service and postal
shopping service via post offices.
The mail and logistic service will be highly reliable. In case of any
losses or damages were caused to the corporate customer, he will be
offered another package of bulk mails. Virtual fax service will be more
profitable to business institutions which receive a nominal number of
fax messages each month. It will minimise the cost of maintaining a
separate fax line. A business institution or a customer willing to
obtain this service must register with the Department of Post (DOP). The
DOP will then provide a fax number.
The SLP will introduce e-Money order system shortly. Even though
money order is the key income source of SLP it is outdated. The demand
payment will allow customers to make payments to entities, who accept
payments for various tasks through money orders in existing system.
Regional service: as the SLP is close to public, it has a capacity of
providing many innovative services. Potential areas of service are,
booking of hotels and guest houses and medical booking, e-ticketing for
buses and trains, e-auctioning service, mail marketing, application
processing, acceptance services and classified advertisements.
These services will be available online.
Philatelic service: many services can be provided to stamp
collectors. First day covers, old and new stamps, different types of
stamp albums, stamp handling equipment and other items of interest to
philatelic collectors can be displayed in the website.
Philatelic service will provide the facility to maintain the
innovatory of all stamps and philatelic items with valuable information.
Prepaid account will be a good alternative for credit cards. Prepaid
account is a very simple concept. The rural community will have some
difficulties in getting credit cards. Any customer can create own
prepaid account by visiting the nearest post office. The account can be
used for any transaction at anytime.
Mail forwarding will be most important to people who live in rented
or leased houses and shift from place to place frequently. Under this
concept SLP will deliver all mail correspondence to new addresses.
Scangram will be most effective when compared to telegram service.
The scangram will eliminate all problems prevailing in telegram system.
The customer who is willing to send a telegram will have to fill in the
form and write the telegram message on the form. This will be scanned
and sent to the relevant post office to be delivered to the customer.
Address verification: proof address is a must for many post paid
services. In several cases the customers face difficulty of providing
newly dated bank statements.
The SL Post will provide an online address verification. Once
registered, the organisation can log into the system and get the address
verified. Individuals as well as corporate organisations will benefit.
The customer need not provide billing proof, instead he must submit
the verifying address.
Telephone, mobile phone, electricity, water supply, TV broadcasting,
Internet service, and other regular payments like insurance premiums,
institute fees, fines and membership fees can be paid via online at post
email to postal and postal to email is more useful to the families of
those who work abroad, where the families might not have Internet email
facilities. The messages will be delivered very fast and confidently.
The user need to have a prepaid account to enjoy this service.