Newspost Impact: Landour’s dead-letter day

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Pic Courtesy: Robert Hutchison

Dateline Mussoorie: There is good news for Mussoorie and its residents. The closure proposal by the Postal Department for the town’s two raj-era post offices has been put on hold. Sharing this bit of good news, “ Ansuya Prasad, Senior Superintendent Post Offices, Dehradun, told Newspost, “For now any closure proposal for both the town’s posts offices have been put on hold. The Savoy Post Office will continue where it is, but for the Landour Post Office, the landlord had asked us to vacate the premises to renovate the old building,” adding, “for that period, we will shift elsewhere in the vicinity and post-renovation put in a request to the landlord to sublet the same.”

If you were to go by news-reports, then in early august plans were afoot to close down three Sub-Post Offices in Dehradun’s Dakra, Nashvilla Road, Dilaram Chowk and two in Mussoorie: Landour and Savoy Hotel.

The last two are an inseparable part of the hill-station’s tangible past  and linked to its rich history. In 1837, when the Post Office Act XVII was enacted, the Landour Sub-Post Office came up under the keen eye of Captain Young, Mussoorie’s founder. For the past two hundred years, the community has benefited from a postal service that moved well beyond a relay of runners on foot.

Beginning in Landour Chowk, it was shifted to Rorleston House on the Mall in 1909. It is almost as if our hill station grew around the Sub-Post Offices of Landour, Library, Charleville, Barlowganj and Jharipani.

Today, the Landour Sub-Post Office not only sustains international clients from Mussoorie Language School and the Woodstock School, which together account for students from some 26 countries. More importantly, it caters to the folks from the abutting villages of Mussoorie from Kimoee, Kolti, Kanda, Matholi, Maudh, Khatapani, Tuneta, Judi, Sainji, Ludur, Ginsey and many others.

At the other end of town, the iconic Savoy Sub-Post Office has been associated with the historical hotel Savoy, since 1902. Jim Corbett the famous British tracker, hunter and naturalist’s father worked as a Post Master. To this day, the Sub-Post Office famous seal bears the imprint of the place that is intricately linked with the history of the hill station.

Local legislators, ward members and residents registered their protest. Media, both print and electronic rose to the occasion and wrote against the closure proposal and for once, history, tradition and heritage have been saved from being shelved in the name of progress.