To modernize mail processing centres, the Department of Post launched its first automated mail processing centre in Delhi on Tuesday at a cost of Rs 42 crore. Nearly a million mails can be handled by the new centre every day.

The letter sorting machine which can sort nearly 35,000 letters per hour and a mixed mail sorter which can process 20,000 letters, packets and parcels every hour make use of optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

As the mail enters the sorting machine, a high speed camera takes a picture of the address written on it and sends it to the OCR server for digitization and recognition. The system recognizes the pin code as well as the address and takes a sorting decision on the basis of inputs received from the written address and the address database.The mixed mail sorter is an open conveyor based system which can sort any kind of letter, flat, packet or small parcels.  Apart from the new centre in Delhi, a similar facility has also been set up in Kolkata which  would be inaugurated in a few weeks time. The automated mail processing system in Delhi is installed by Siemens.

The Department of Post has been upgrading its system from quite some time now. In 2011 Government had formulated a plan of Rs 1877 crores  to computerize post offices in rural areas. Earlier in this month, the department appointed IT major Infosys to modernize its financial service platform by deploying its core banking solution Finacle and McCamish Insurance platform.

India post is also also exploring various mechanisms like adoption of GIS mapping, tracking of mails, and standardisation of parcels as part of its efforts to remain competitive and increase revenues.

*Image: India Post

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