• Post Office [Representational Image]Creative Commons/Michael Pieracci
  • Indian postal employees sort mail in an open area at the main post office of Bhuj in the western state of Gujarat on February 6, 2001. [Representational Image]Reuters

A total of 33,083 unclaimed mails lying beneath the dust gathered in the last three years will soon be put out for auction as the true claimants have not yet shown up at the Returned Letter Office of the postal department in Delhi.

The thousands of mails and couriers lying unattended at the post office include jewellery, watches, cell phones, cameras, books, imitation jewellery and stationary items.

Of these 33,083 unclaimed mails, 8,070 are from 2012, 11,938 from 2013 and 13,075 of them are from 2014, according to an RTI response from the postal department to PTI. These mails are lying for years and months now as the department failed to deliver it to either the sender or the recipient.

If no one comes to claim their parcels or mails, the department will put them up for auctioning soon following the law under Rule 435 of the P&T Manual that allows auctioning of parcels/articles which remain unclaimed.

Director of Marketing and Business Development of Department of Post, Pranav Kumar, described the process of the auctioning and said that it will be transparent. An advertisement comprising details of all the materials will be published in at least one newspaper.

"Before going for auction, we form a committee and appoint an auctioneer from outside. The auctioneer then fixes the quotation and auctioning process takes place in a transparent manner," Kumar said.