One reason Alamelu Subramanium prefers the services of the post office is because her father and brother have both been postmasters. “I have seen post offices grow and bring in so many other services,” said the 65-year-old resident of Adyar, as she watched a carton full of spices and homemade goodies being wrapped carefully at the Adyar post office, to be sent to her daughter abroad.

“Emails can replace post cards, but home-made stuff will always have to be sent to children settled abroad,” she said. To help people like Ms.Alamelu, India Post will open five more domestic and international parcel packaging centres at post offices across the city. Such facilities are available now at 17 post offices in the city.

At a function on Saturday to inaugurate a new parcel packaging centre in Adyar post office, M.S. Ramanujan, Postmaster General, Chennai City Region, said by this month new centres will open in Thiruvanmiyur, Vadapalani, Pallavaram, Padi and Teynampet post offices. Carnatic vocalist S. Sowmya inaugurated the new centre.

“We are looking at areas with residential colonies. People can send up to 35 kg of goods and they just need to come here with the material and choose the carton, and we will do the packaging in front of them,” Mr. Ramanujan added. “People find it very difficult to carry their parcels so we have decided to shift the centre to the ground floor here,” he said.

The number of personal mails has come down, but the number of business mails and parcels has increased, say postal officials. “More so, because most airlines now permit only one check-in baggage free and that too not more than 23 kg,” said Usha Balanchandran, an NRI, on her yearly visit to the city.

Over 10 post offices will remain open next Sunday (December 18) for those wanting to send greetings for Christmas and New Year, the officials said. “We now deliver couriers on Sundays too, keeping working couples in mind,” said R.Venkataraman, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Chennai City Central Division. A. Thomas Lourduraj, senior superintendent of Post Offices, Chennai City South Division participated in the event.