The Indian Railways announced on August 6 that it will begin its Kisan Rail services to transport perishables from Aug 07, today. The first such train, carrying vegetables and fruits, would run between Devlali in Maharashtra and Danapur in Bihar. Earlier this year, the Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sutharaman had announced the initiative in her budget speech setting that a Kisan Rail would be set up through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode to carry perishable goods like fruits and vegetables.
The first train will commence its journey from Devlali at 11:00 am and will reach Danapur at 6:45 pm on the next day, covering 1,519 km in 31.45 hours, said a statement from the Railways.
Central Railway, Bhusawal Division is primarily an agro-based division and Nasik and the surrounding region produces huge quantities of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, other perishables, onions and other agro products. These perishables are mainly transported to areas around Patna, Allahabad, Katni, Satna and others.
As per the schedule, the Kisan Rail will be taking halts at Nasik Road, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Satna, Katni, Manikpur, Prayagraj Chheoki, Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Nagar and Buxar.
Further, the statement added, active and effective marketing is being done with local farmers, loaders, APMC and individuals. Moreover, the advertisements are being published in electronic and print media. The train is expected to be patronised well and will be a great help to the farmers, as the freight of this train will be charged at ‘P’ Scale.
A similar proposal of using refrigerated parcel vans to transport perishables was first announced by Mamata Banerjee, the then Railway Minister, during the budget announcement for the year 2009-10. However, the decision could not be realised. But, since then, the railways has commissioned temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres at various points like Ghazipur Ghat (UP), New Azadpur (Adarsh Nagar, Delhi) and Raja ka Talab (UP) as a pilot project under the Kisan Vision Project by Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) through a CSR initiative.
(With Inputs from PTI)