The outsourcing bug has bitten the public sector behemoth railways. Parcel handling at railway stations, which brings railways business worth Rs 1,200 crore every year, is going to be outsourced by the Northern Railway to eliminate touts in the business.
Delhi Division of the railways alone earns about Rs 300 crores in a year by parcel handling. "We have invited expression of interest for professional parcel handling service providers involving use of skilled manpower and mechanised handling for all activities related to parcels", Shri Prakash, General Manager, Northern Railway, told PTI.
They would be required to receive the parcels including off loading, weighing them, labelling, carting, stacking and their loading and unloading in trains, he said.
"Besides outsourcing parcel handling, we are also introducing online parcel tracking system with barcoding facility. Now all parcels originating from Delhi can be tracked online," said Prakash.
"There were several complaints against parcel-handling operations. Besides, touts fleecing genuine customers and many cases of corruptions have come to our notice. There used to be a delay in dispatch inducing transparency in the system," Prakash said. Delhi Division of railways has three huge parcel sheds in New Delhi station, Old Delhi station and Nizamuddin station.
Parcel handling is at present carried out manually. "As the volume of parcel business is growing, we need about 2,000 staff to handle the operation while we only have 500 employees are available now. So, it was decided to hand it over to professional agencies," said Prakash.
As per requirement, handling agencies will have to ensure mechanisation of operations through utilisation of equipment like trolleys, forklifts, high mast and other necessary tools, he said.
They will cater to approximately 100 trains and 1000 tonnes of parcels a day in New Delhi station alone. The payment to the agency would be on the basis of per tonne consignment handled except vehicles like scooter or bikes for which specific rate is applicable.
Once the new handling system and barcoding method are fully operational in Delhi area, they would be extended to other stations, said Prakash.