Last ‘stop’ for telegrams as BSNL ends 160-year-old service

It’s hard to imagine a time when telegrams and typewriters were the order of the day, even though it was only three decades ago that both were crucial to communication. With the world’s last typewriter company shutting production two years ago, it was only a matter of time before telegrams went the same way.

And now, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to discontinue the 160-year-old service in India. According to the circular issued by Shameem Akhtar, Senior General Manager (Telegraph Services), BSNL, the service will no longer be available after July 15. As a result, all telegraph offices under the aegis of BSNL will have to stop booking telegrams from that date.

Over and out (Image credit: Getty Images)

Over and out (Image credit: Getty Images)


Telegrams were once (a long time ago) on the cutting-edge of quick, long-distance communication, but with the advent of speed post, telephones and other modern communication channels, it was relegated to use in only the most rural areas, and that too sparingly. In 2011, BSNL hiked telegram fees for the first time in 60 years and earlier this year, it had discontinued the service for overseas communication.

BSNL sources told NDTV that the government was asked to support the service ever since it had become commercially unviable for BSNL. In turn, the government decided to let the BSNL board take a call on its future. The decision to close the service was arrived at after it was decided by BSNL and the Department of Posts that there were better options for citizens now. Some of BSNL’s telegraph staff will be shifted to its mobile, landline and broadband divisions within the next three months.

Published Date: Jun 12, 2013 17:02 PM | Updated Date: Jun 12, 2013 17:02 PM