Personalised letters from Prime Minister Narendra Modi being sent to proposed beneficiaries of the Pradhan Manthri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) insurance scheme has thrown up a peculiar challenge for Postal Department employees. A good number of the letters do not have the detailed addresses or proper names, with hardly any clue on them to figure out where or to whom they should be delivered.
One of the letters, for instance, is addressed to a ‘child’ residing in ward no. 34 of Kalamassery, while another one is addressed to ‘Name: ???’.
Another of the letters is addressed to ‘Edward C/o Victor’ of Kalpetta. Some letters have the same content, for instance the ward no., on all five address lines.
The letters contain a personalised message from the Prime Minister on various schemes of the Central government.
The recipients can also use the letters for registration for the insurance scheme.
According to an employee working in the Kozhikode division of the Department of Posts, they have been given instructions that the ‘PMJAY articles should not be returned to the sender under any circumstances’.
“The letters arrived at the speed post booking points as a huge load in a truck, with names and addresses sorted village-wise,” said the employee.
The data seem to have been collected from election rolls or from Aadhaar. While quite a few letters have proper addresses, many do not have enough information with which we can deliver them properly. We have been asked to somehow deliver those which have some basic information, by contacting ward members or ASHA workers. The rest have to be retained in the office. The uploading of all these details has also led the server to crash, affecting the other work,” the postal employee added.
Another employee from the Thiruvananthapuram division said that the work had become an overload for the staff.
Sayeed Rashid, Director Postal Services (HQ), Kerala Circle, said that 18 lakh such letters had been sent to the State.
“Some issues regarding addresses have been raised. Our attempt is to deliver all the letters. In some cases where there is no way of identifying the person, we might have to send the letters back. To address the workload, we have issued orders to take in more people temporarily. Since it is being delivered through speed post, it is a source of revenue for us,” said Mr. Rashid.
Meanwhile, M.B. Rajesh, MP, of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has accused the Narendra Modi government of using public funds for propaganda.
“The letters are being sent to 10 crore people at a cost of ₹410 crore. The PMJAY itself has a miniscule allocation, which would be sufficient enough to provide ₹67 per beneficiary,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday evening.