The 160-year old telegram service in the country will operate for the last time on Sunday. "Sunday is the last day for telegram services. The service will start at 8 am and close by 9 pm," BSNL CMD RK Upadhyay said. "The service will not be available from Monday."
State-run telecom firm BSNL has decided to discontinue telegrams following a huge shortfall in revenue. The service generated about Rs 75 lakh annually, compared with the cost of over Rs 100 crore to run and manage it. The use of telegrams has declined with the spread of mobile phones and the Internet in the country.
The first experimental electric telegraph line was started between Kolkata and Diamond Harbour in 1850 and it was opened for use by the British East India Company the following year. In 1854, the service was made available to the public. There are about 75 telegram centres in the country, with less than 1,000 employees to manage them.
BSNL will absorb these employees and deploy them to manage mobile services, landline telephony and broadband services. Faced with declining revenue, the government had revised telegram charges in May 2011, after a gap of 60 years. Charges for inland telegram services were hiked to Rs 27 per 50 words.