Sangam City a part and parcel of 160 yrs of postal service
The postal department will complete 160 years of glorious service on Wednesday. However, many of us are unaware that the Sangam City has been a vital spot in this journey and has many firsts to its credit. From the launch of first horse cart postal service to air-mail and railway-mail service, the city has always been the first choice.
The credit of launching horse cart service in 1841 goes to prominent trader of chowk area Lala Thantimal. Owing to diversified business, he felt the need for a speedy mail service and hence the first horse cart service came into existence. His mail service also used to carry letters of public but for a price.
The launch of service led to Lala Thantimal's business growing by leaps and bound. Later, he finally settled in Kanpur. "A decade later, he started postal company 'Inland Transit Company'. Initially, the company carried mails and parcels between Kanpur and Calcutta (now Kolkata). The services were later expanded to Meerut, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi," said director, postal services, Krishna Kumar Yadav. Thantimal's great grandson Vinod Tandon now lives in Kanpur but is engaged in separate business. Incidentally, Yadav has conducted an extensive research on the topic.
In another first, the Britishers in 1864 launched railway-sorting section between Allahabad and Kanpur. "The section was later converted into rail mail service which now occupies over 70% of postal delivery services in the country," said the director.
The world of postal services was, however, revolutionized by world's first airmail service. It too was started from Allahabad to satellite town of Naini in 1911 and carried letters of freedom fighter Motilal Nehru written to his son Jawaharlal Nehru.
"The first air mail took off from the Parade Ground in February 18, 1911. It carried 6,500 letters and after 13 minutes it landed near the Central Jail in Naini," said Kumar, adding Allahabad was the most suitable place for starting the postal service as it was situated between Kolkata and New Delhi and between Mumbai and New Delhi.
It may be mentioned here that a clergyman of the Holy Trinity Church, currently situated on Sarojini Naidu Marg, requested Englishman Walter Windham to participate in an exhibition on Parade Ground with his aircraft. There, Windham performed an aerial show to raise funds for the construction of a hostel. As a part of their contribution, a lot of people had also posted letters with postage stamps which were delivered to Naini.