Claims tall, but digitisation of Chandigarh's estate office files in slow motion

  • Aarish Chhabra, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2015 10:30 IST

Even as the UT administration claims that it would complete digitisation of the UT estate office record by October, work on the ground has barely reached the 15,000 mark out of the total 77,000-odd files in nine months so far. This is an average of hardly 50 files a day since October, that too when the pace picked up to 100 a day over the past two months after the staff was increased.

At this pace, simple math says it would take at least 20 more months to complete the work of digitising the record, which pertains to land and buildings across Chandigarh. The UT’s top bureaucrat, adviser Vijay Kumar Dev, declared at an estate office public camp on Wednesday that the work would be complete by October 2, which is a little over three months away.


Digitisation of the estate office files, which deal with all land and building issues in the UT, was announced several times in the past five years, but the tender was awarded only late last year. The purpose is to have all documents as scanned PDF files, available online to the applicants with unique user ID and passwords. This brings in transparency and also reduces the manual interface, leading to efficiency, Dev too had stressed.

An in the estate office, refusing to be named, said: “Less than half the work is done so far.”

Assistant estate officer (AEO headquarters) Prince Dhawan said he was out of town and would respond on Monday. However, going into the bare figures, Vishal Mehta, sales manager (north) for the project-implementing company — Delhiheadquartered Newgen Software Technologies Limited — said that 40-45 lakh documents were scanned so far. At an estimate of each file having 300 documents, as per the company’s staff, the work completed so far is hardly 15,000 files. If one were to go by the estate office estimates of 500 documents per file, the number goes below 10,000.


Mehta has sought the nod to run two shifts a day and hire more people on its rolls, which could cut the time by half probably. But October 2 looks set to be overshot. As per the agreement, the target is to scan 1.5-1.8crore documents in a year, which comes out to be around 60,000 files, though there is a provision for extending that.

Payment is made on per page basis, at around 45-paisa each depending on the types of document, said Mehta. Besides digitising, the firm is to give the estate office a document management system, which would have a control panel for the officials, and an interface that would be for the people to navigate through their files. Including all of this, the contract is worth Rs 1.5 crore.

At present, the digitising company has put up only four scanners in its assigned set up on the second floor of the estate office in Sector 17. One of the scanners came last month. In all, 23 staffers are engaged by the company and the estate office, on its part, has deputed two peons and four other staff members for numbering and sorting. There are six to seven other estate office employees for a final quality check. The team works six days a week, barring Sundays.

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