Amid the grim crisis nationwide due to the coronavirus COVID-19, RailTel is taking all possible measures to ensure uninterrupted services to Indian Railways and other clients. RailTel, a Mini Ratna PSU under the Ministry of Railways, handles crucial communication system, video conferencing and implementation of e-office platform as well storing important data for Indian Railways in its two data centres--Gurgaon and Secunderabad.
In the wake of the current crisis, RailTel has been making available the essential items and related supplies. It is proactive to ensure the availability of necessary items and the relative supply chain, for which the rail operations must be operated without any problems.
In such a scenario, it is more important to justify the operation of the network and data centre so that it does not interfere with communication and rail freight between all Indian Railways offices across the country. A large number of banks also depend on RailTel services for their data communication needs.
To run two data centres, 4 regional network operation centres and one central network operation centre, RailTel management has deployed a minimum physical workforce of 2–3 regular employees, for whom the roster has been prepared and the tasks are fixed on a rotation basis.
Boarding and lodging are arranged in RailTel premises or in residential areas close to RailTel offices so that employees do not need to travel extensively and use public transport. Most maintenance works have been transferred to RailTel's internal network monitoring platforms and equipment and are being monitored closely. Necessary task forces have been deployed on the machine for physical maintenance and labour.
All the operational centres are being fully maintained and disinfected. The deployed staff also has guidelines to maintain all necessary personal hygiene. RailTel was already implementing e-office for making paperless operations for Indian Railways. Currently, 72,976 users can work from home using this platform.
The use of HD video conferencing provided by RailTel during lockdown has also nearly doubled in the Indian Railways. As most of the railways are working in the office, they are working in this HD video centre for the purpose of retraining activity across the country.
While talking about the challenges in lockdown, Puneet Charla, CMD RailTel said, "Although the staff are constantly in and out of many checks, unavailability of means of transportation, permissibility in taking and receiving, the establishment is not only in its place. It is a challenge to give service to the people, they are facing many challenges.
"But our team is keeping the network safe by fixing any fault, working 24X7. The RailTel team intends to continue serving in the national circuit," he added.
Prior to the lockout in the country, RailTel complied with the government's advice to keep employees from working with a minimum workforce in the office, and the remaining employees were working from home. Cleanliness has always been paramount in RailTel offices. But because of COVID19's handling, additional measures such as cleaning and disinfecting the shingles and the upper surface during the day, sanitizer in the office premises, checking the temperature at the entry-level for all employees and visitors are the main functions of the RailTel system.
RailTel had already taken over the NIC e-auction and most of its work was being done in digital platforms, so when the time came to work from home, RailTel was ready for it and the transition was smooth and true.
All employees were provided with the facility of RailTel's free private network, through which they can use the SE-OIS, ERP, Intranet platforms to prevent regular work.