GUWAHATI, April 28 - The Swift and Efficient Transport of Utilities (SETU) initiative of Indian Railways, launched earlier this month, has found good response from traders and business houses in Assam and the north-eastern region seeking assistance in transportation, purchase and delivery of essential freight commodities.
�SETU was launched by a group of trainee officers who are based at the National Academy of Indian Railways in Vadodara. The main intention behind this initiative was to bridge the gap between demand and supply, especially considering the current COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. The lockdown has created certain bottlenecks in transportation and communication. Using the SETU model, we are working to remove the backlog in the supply chain and facilitate our customers,� a senior official of the Indian Railways told this newspaper.
He said that as part of SETU a dedicated helpline has been launched catering exclusively to the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone.
�Providing real-time and up-to-date information has become critical during this period of lockdown on account of the logistical hassles faced by customers, including traders. SETU has enabled customers from the states under the jurisdiction of NFR to call up and place their request for transporting essential and critical commodities, including foodgrains as well as health and medical equipment. Our helpline is manned by a group of trainee officers. They also scan the social media sites to find out if any customer is seeking any kind of assistance. They are carrying out the work round the clock and the service is absolutely free,� said the official.
Sources said that the requests received through the helpline number and social media handle are forwarded to the division concerned of NFR, which checks matters like feasibility of transporting the requested goods, timetable of freight and parcel trains in a section, availability of space for transportation, stoppages and other relevant data.
�Our divisional officers get back to the SETU team with the relevant information within three hours of receiving the request for the information and accordingly, the customers are provided the details,� said an official at the NFR.
He added that the initiative has gained a lot of momentum in the NFR zone during the past week.
�Dozens of customers have been provided assistance and we expect the numbers to go up in the coming days. It could also prove to be a useful tool even after the pandemic is controlled and the lockdown lifted, if the authorities so decide,� said the official.
NFR has deployed senior officials at its Maligaon head-office here as well as across all the five divisional headquarters to help the SETU team, besides for monitoring movement of parcel and freight trains.