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IT Adds Pace to Freight Corridor

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Ms Neelam SanghiGroup Manager-IT, DFCCIL, Ministry of Railways

Ms Neelam Sanghi
Group Manager-IT, DFCCIL,
Ministry of Railways

Use of latest IT tools is helping the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) in implementing its different projects, and monitoring tools like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are a great help in effective execution of the projects, Ms Neelam Sanghi tells ENN’s Gautam Debroy in an exclusive interview

Tell us about the functions of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL).
DFCCIL is a special purpose vehicle under the Ministry of Railways; it basically segregates freight from passenger. It undertakes planning and development, mobilisation of financial resources, construction, maintenance and operation of the Dedicated Freight Corridors. DFCCIL was incorporated in October 2006 under Indian Companies Act 1956. Right now railways are carrying both freight and passenger, while freight is our bread and butter, we have not given it the desired priority. The concept behind DFCCIL is that the freight should be carried through a dedicated corridor. 70 percent of our freight comes from Kolkata to Delhi and Mumbai to Ludhiana route.

“Indian Railways is one of the biggest employers in the world. With the use of a specific department we maintain employee data which is very important. All employee records are available on the click of a button. And the implementation of this kind of system will definitely be helpful for the entire department.”

Tell us about the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in DFCCIL.
We are implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project which was awarded in 2012 and funded by the World Bank. Land acquisition has to be done because this is a green field project and we have got the go ahead from the Ministry of Railways for it. But, for the actual construction of two (freight) lines, we have been provided Rs. 90,000 crores by the World Bank for the eastern corridor while Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the western corridor. Our funders have insisted on the use of ERP solution for transparency in the working of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).

In 2010, we appointed Wipro as a project management consultant. Wipro guided us in planning the project, while HCL Technologies was awarded the contract and its implementation. This has eight modules that include networking, hardware and software among others, and for that we have setup a data centre at the DFCCIL office.

We have setup local area network in all the offices and each office has been uplinked to the data centre through wide area network and each office has local area network. We have different management for different systems. We have also setup land acquisition management system. Through the GIS system, you too can access the land information system and the assets that are created.

Do you think that the use of latest IT gadgets is helping your department in implementing different projects?
The use of latest IT gadgets is definitely helping the DFCCIL in implementing its different projects. All our projects will be monitored through the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with the use of latest information and communication technology. We are implementing the latest IT gadgets in both the eastern as well as in the western corridor.

Do you think that the use of IT is also helping your department in day to day works?
Earlier the entire system was manually done. But with the advent of ICTs in organisations DFCCIL has also been revamped. Today, every employee of DFCCIL has a user ID, their own portal and they even apply for their leaves online. The salaries of employees is also centralised and is credited to them online. All the records are saved into the system, saving lots of time.

“With the advent of ICT in organisations DFCCIL has also been revamped. Today, every employee of DFCCIL has a user ID, their own portal and they even apply for their leaves online.”

Do you have any plan to further enhance your activities?
First, we have to consolidate because the numbers of employees are increasing alarmingly. When the IT projects were conceptualised, we had targeted 500 employees by 2017. But as of today we have already exceeded that number. And by 2017, we should be having more than 1000 employees. We have to expand the system to meet the requirement of our employees. We are also going on to e-procurement i.e. whatever freight we register we do it online.

Once completed, the dedicated freight corridors will enable Indian Railways to improve its customer orientation and meet market needs more effectively. Creation of rail infrastructure on such a scale – unprecedented in independent India – is also expected to drive the establishment of industrial corridors and logistic parks along its alignment.

Tell us some of the achievements of DFCCIL.
The most significant achievement was the implementation of the land acquisition and information system. Although freight is the core business of the DFCCIL, but earlier the core business was land acquisition. All the land records from Delhi-Ludhiana-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata have been put on records. Whatever decision we take regarding land acquisition and freight services, we upload it in the system.

The entire system is linked with the GIS. Interestingly, DFCCIL is the first organisation in the railways where employees apply for leave online. We organise training for the employees.

Do you think that the use of IT is helpful not only for PSUs but for the entire railway board?
Indian Railways is one of the biggest employers in the world. With the use of a specific department, we maintain employee data which us very much important. All employee records are available on the click of a button. And the implementation of this kind of system will definitely be helpful for the entire department.

Elets Technomedia is organising eIndia summit in Kerala. Your message!
e-Governance is the mantra for today. When you organise this type of summit, all the stakeholders come under one platform and share their ideas and visions. So, I think this is a good initiative taken in a good direction.

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