Published on April 29, 2020

AHMEDABAD: Amid the lockdown, the post office in Navrangpura is busy from early morning. Parcels upon parcels with tags of addresses in locations ranging from Meghalaya to Kerala and Rajasthan to Odisha are received by the India Post employees.
“Over the past month, we have processed about 10 tonnes of medicines and protective gear in the form of N95 masks and PPE kits from here,” said Alpesh Shah, the senior postmaster. “It’s a record of sorts for the Speed Post service in terms of volume. Majority of orders are customer-to-customer.”
When the supply chain of the pharmaceutical industry based in the city and the state — one of the biggest in India — was disrupted at the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Gujarat circle of India Post was the first to offer services for essential supply. That was not only crucial for hospitals but also for drug manufacturers in other states.

Ashok Kumar Poddar, the chief postmaster general of Gujarat, said that they got in touch with the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Gujarat, and started the services from March 30. “The initiative was noticed nationally as majority of couriers and transporters were not available,” he said. “Other states also followed suit. It was also an integrated chain. We delivered a large number of testing kits from Pune to Gujarat and also delivered drugs manufactured in Gujarat across India.”

India Post officials said that on average 3 tonnes of medical supplies including finished products, key ingredients for manufacturing drugs, PPE kits and masks are delivered within and outside Gujarat daily through their supply chain. Viranchi Shah, the chairman of IDMA Gujarat, said that the service came at the time when no other means was available. “IDMA and India Post came together to provide a solution,” he said.

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