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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2584

Telegrams - No more After 31st October

Colombo, 30 August, (

Following the footsteps of India Sri Lanka too has come forward to discontinue with telegram service in the country 31st October 2013.

The telegram service in Sri Lanka will be discontinued from October 31st, Minister of Telecommunication & Information Technology Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told.

Earlier this year officials claimed that it handles just 50 telegrams a day.

Postal Department was the oldest government department, set up by colonial Dutch rulers in 1798.

The British, who ousted the Dutch, later expanded the service across the island using horse-drawn coaches to deliver mail.

Telegrams were earlier considered as a messenger of Death and villagers used to shudder at, when a telegraph man rigs his bicycle bell in their house door.

But today, telegrams are still sent by parliamentarians and businesses to contact people in very remote locations, but the demand is a fraction of its height in colonial times when it was a key form of communication.

But according to Hemasiri Fernando, Secretary Ministry of Telecommunication & Information Technology, transmitting telegrams using a network of postal messengers across the country was too expensive, and telegrams could not compete with phones and text messages for speed.

“It is too costly. Telegrams have competition from email, courier and SMS (short message services) on mobile phones,” Fernando said.

The department charges three rupees ($0.03) for a telegram of 10 words while it cost the postal department 250 rupees ($2.29) to transmit it to the recipient, Fernando said.

“These prices are not sustainable,” he added.

- Asian Tribune -

Telegrams no more after 31st October 2013
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