Coronavirus (COVID-19): ‘Setu’, which was launched on Sunday, has facilitated the delivery of 30 tonnes of items within 24 hours of launch.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): GIVING A boost to the supply chain amid the lockdown, a new mechanism is connecting district magistrates and local railway officers to ensure doorstep delivery of essential items, medicines and parcels on special trains running 24×7.

‘Setu’, which was launched on Sunday, has a round-the-clock all-India helpline number — 8448848477. It has facilitated the delivery of 30 tonnes of items within 24 hours of launch.

Among the items being transported are medicines from pharmaceutical companies to district hospitals and essential items from wholesalers to retailers. What’s more, the team has transported camel milk and human blood on specific requests by individuals. The delivery is door to door, not station to station — giving shape to a new business model for Railways.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicating that some areas less affected by the COVID-19 outbreak might see relaxations in restrictions after April 20, officials said that coordination with district-level officers and their counterparts in nearest railheads would be vital to keep the supply chain working.

Through its 68 divisional commercial managers and divisional operations managers, the Railways is also facilitating the passes and permits for trucks used to deliver the items from stations to their destinations.

As many as 204 “COVID-19 Parcel Special” trains are operating in about 63 routes across the country at present. “On Tuesday, we supplied 60 kg of medicine from Prayagraj to Banda after the local authorities called the helpline and indicated the requirement,” said Sanchit Tyagi, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of Prayagraj division in Uttar Pradesh.

The helpline is being managed from a training institute in Udaipur and is being overseen by an officer in UP’s Tundla. It is relaying messages to 68 divisions across India. The helpline managers have instant fare calculators so that the moment a query comes, the fare can be instantly conveyed, doing away with the complicated process of the customer calculating the figure as per distance, taxes etc.

“The mechanism is connecting us with different mandi associations for agriculture produce and the pharmaceutical sector for PPEs, masks etc,” said Sanjay Kumar, Assistant Traffic Manager,Tundla.