Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Central Government's decision to close down the Postal Printing Press in Bhubaneswar, the country’s only printing press under the Department of Posts has raised apprehensions in the minds of hundreds of employees associated with the Press.

The decision to close the printing press came after a meeting of committee of secretaries on April 27 in New Delhi.

A notice was also sent to the Chief Post Master General (CPMG) of the Odisha Postal Circle on May 9 in this regard.

However, the decision sparked protests and drew criticism from various sections including the employees' union of the printing press, postal officials and others associated with it.

The employees' association of the printing press today took to streets in protest of the Centre's decision and urged the State government to intervene in the matter.

"Although the date of the closure was not mentioned in the letter, sources said that it could be soon shut down. Now people who are directly dependent on it and other allied industries like ink manufacturers, paper, adhesive, waste cotton for their livelihood are also likely to be adversely affected due to the closure of the press," said Jyotirmaya Das, President of Postal Printing Press Employees' Union.

We have urged State's ruling party leaders and other Union Ministers including Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram and they have assured us that they will look into the matter

Jyotirmaya Das

Rabindra Kumar Behera, foreman employed in the printing press said, "We have always been fulfilling the needs of the government. Now our future is uncertain and we don't know what we will do if the decision is implemented."

Meanwhile, the Head of the Odisha postal circle has assured that the Department of Posts will be apprised about the concerns and grievances of the employees along with the possible losses the department might incur if at all the decision is implemented.

"We have decided to write to the Director of Department of Posts to continue the printing press. We also have other concerns to look into like grievances of the employees which we are including in our letter. Further course of action will be decided after the decision by the Centre," said Odisha Circle CPMG Santosh Kumar Kamil.

The postal printing press in Bhubaneswar, which started functioning in 1978, caters to the needs of seven postal circles including Odisha. As many as 146 skilled and unskilled employees are presently working in the postal press.

Several types of official items of the postal department including forms, books, saving bank passbooks and account books are being printed at the postal press. This apart, a total of two metric tonne prints are done with the help of four printing machines on a daily basis.