If Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, in a gesture of benevolence, had last year promoted the luscious ‘shahi’ (royal) litchis of Muzaffarpur by gifting them to the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and a host of Central Ministers, national carrier, Indian has this year reciprocated it by lowering its freight charges for transporting these world-famous litchis.
Having received an order of over 30 tonnes from Bangalore alone this year, a Muzaffarpur-based businessman has committed to transport at least half its demand by the Indian between May 22 and June 5.
And, in a gesture of benevolence, laced with a tinge of astute business acumen, the Indian has lowered its freight charges for transporting these litchis to one-fourth its ordinary cargo charges.
Confirming this to the Hindustan Times, Indian Area Marketing Manager C Sengodan said, "We have agreed to transport litchis to Bangalore for just Rs 27 a kilogram against the ordinary freight charges of Rs 103.10 per kg."
Sengodan said a Muzaffarpur businessman, SK Singh, had approached the airlines for transporting nearly 30 tonnes of litchis to Bangalore between May 22 and June 5. "But we could not agree to cater to such a heavy demand because of the load restriction on flights here. Given the short runway at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport and the load penalty during summers, we agreed to transport one-ton litchi per day," he added.
Sengodan said, "the litchis being highly perishable in nature, will be sent by the morning flight to New Delhi from where they will be put on the evening flight to Bangalore. So, a client booking its consignment of litchis with us in the morning, can expect it to be delivered the same evening by 7 pm."
In his parting shot, Sengodan said, "After all, the Indian does care for the litchis of Muzaffarpur."
Incidentally, the domestic demand from Bangalore is the highest the State has received so far. Though demand from Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi is also substantial, businessmen prefer to transport litchis to these locations by locomotive.