Postal dept to write off PIN system

Written by Prachi Karnik Pradhan | Mumbai, Aug 12 | Updated: Aug 14 2008, 05:05am hrs
The department of post (DoP) proposes to introduce postal address locator (PAL) to replace the existing postal index (PIN) code. The DoP plans to make the PAL code, the standard universal post code. The existing PIN code system is getting outdated and tedious as it is primarily based on delivery post office (DPO) and not on geographical location, wherein a unique code is permanently allotted to a location.

Moreover, incomplete PIN code is of no use. In India, a district is the most well known administrative or geographical entity and since no code is allotted to a district in the PIN code system, it appears to have destroyed the district based sorting, which was the norm before 1972 when PIN was first introduced, he added. In the new PAL code system, a unique code has to be allotted to each geographical location including village, town, locality, building, street, road, zone and city. Each digit in the code has to denote some location and most importantly, any addition of digits to the code must lead to simplification of solution and not compounding the problem, the official noted.

The official also said that the intellectual property right for the concept and design on the PAL code is with the DoP and that no postal administration across the world could adopt it for its postal code without the prior consent of the DoP. He said, We are undergoing a major transformation. What we need is appropriate technology including integrated postal software, networked post offices, GPS-based mail van fleet and a fleet of aircraft for quick transmission of mails between cities and states. He also said that if the proposal gets through, the process of introducing the PAL code will barely take 2-3 months.

He added that it was long felt that the PIN code system is static and not compatible with the Hub and Spokes Distribution. The official said that with the Hub and Spokes Distribution system, it is possible to carry out multiple and quick handling of mails, as against the minimum handling of mails in the conventional sorting of mails using the PIN Codes.

Mail handling is quick because only one or two dynamically placed digits in the code are used for selection in sorting the mails. Interestingly, mail sorting is based on the aggregate and segregate principle, in which the entire mail is put together and then sorted on one digit or two in double quick time, he said.