Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 28

The telegraph service has come under threat of obsolescence after three decades of existence and active service in the country as it can no longer compete with the modern devises of telecommunication. The latest surge of Maoist destruction of communication towers has revived its widespread use.

The telegraph service, which was made available to all districts of the nation in 2032 BS, was widely used as a reliable means of providing the outcome of the referendum held on 2036 BS and all kinds of information on the general election of 2048.

Peoples’ interest in using the telegraph service as a means of exchanging messages declined when modern means of communication, including telephone, telex, and fax were introduced in the country, said Birendra Bahadur Mahat, in charge of Nepal Telegraph office. He further said that the telegraph, which is providing limited services to the people compared to past times is running as a profitless company.

The telegraph used to be busy twenty-four hours a day in providing services to the people by sending messages and is now able to provide services for 200 people twelve hours a day. The charges have not been changed from the time it was introduced in Nepal, 3 rupees for a message of 30 letters and then 1 paisa for each additional letter. However, the charge rate for the press was half that of the rate for common people. Since all the press and publication houses themselves kept telephone sets, Telexes, Tele printers and Faxes, no press person ever used the public service, added an official.

Now, two only telegraph sets are maintained at Kirja of Solukhumbu district and Lomanthang of Mustang, whilst other places are using STD to receive telegraph services. At times when the telephone services are cut, it is expected that wireless technology should take its place, but this is not so. The telegraph office is bearing the monthly loss of 1,50,000 rupees since the set that provides the telegraph service is no longer available in the districts, according to the telegraph office.

Sugatratna Kansakar, director of the telecommunication regional office, Kathmandu, said that the loss faced by the telegraph office didn’t affect the telecommunication corporation as Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) is making millions of profit per month. He added, “We are running the telegraph services with the mere spirit of service.”

People who live in places which are out of contact due to the destruction of the local telephone tower or where there is a lack of power are facing a lot of trouble in sending and receiving messages from their relatives who live far away. They are the ones who can use telegraph sets if the sets are there, opined Mahat.

He urged that the service should once again be available nationwide, since telephone services have been hindered due to attacks by the Maoists terrorists. He noted that this is not only possible, but necessary too.

But, Kanskar saw no possibility of spreading the telegraph service across the nation, because NTC is moving forward to buy 1000 V-set telephone sets by the end of next fiscal year. NTC is working for the satellite technology to provide telephone services, which don’t need towers to operate the service, he urged. He expressed his belief that after introduction of the new technology, telephone services will no longer have the same trouble faced before.