Mumbai: Having witnessed some of the most remarkable developments in communications during its long history, Mumbai's imposing General Post Office (GPO) building - arguably the country's largest post office - completed its 100 years on Friday.

The GPO building's past is synonymous with the growth and development of efficient means of communications in the country's commercial capital and the rest of India. The GPO, modelled on the famous Gol Gumbaz of Bijapur in Karnataka, was designed by British architect John Begg in 1902. Spread across 11,000 sq metres, construction of the iconic building started in September 1904 and was completed after nine years at a cost of Rs.18.09 million.

It is among the few structures built in Mumbai with black Kurla basalt stone with a dressing of Malad yellow and white Dhrangdra stones. The GPO moved into the new building April 12, 1913. With the introduction of the Postal Index Number (PIN) system in the early 1970s, it got the number 400001.

"As the chief post office, we handle huge volumes of mail for over 50,000 address sites and pass them onto 12,854 other post offices in the circle, manned by over 50,000 staffers, including more than 5,000 women," said Col. KC Mishra, chief postmaster general, Maharashtra and Goa Circle.

He said that due to its location in the vicinity of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus), it was ideal to dispatch and receive mail to and from the rest of the country.

A landmark offering would be the inauguration of Maharashtra's first all-women's post office in the Central Town Hall, barely a km away from Mumbai GPO, probably the country's second such post office after one opened in New Delhi on March."

The Mumbai GPO offers a bouquet of traditional and modern services, a one-stop shop, like a 'Post Mall' for all postal services," said an official spokesperson. Soon, it will also offer core banking services with modern ATMs and is due to be awarded an ISO Certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards, he added.


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