Kisan Rail ferrying perishables flagged off from Maharashtra for Bihar
It is expected to reduce transportation costs by Rs 1,000 per tonne compared to roadways and also reduce travel time by around 15 hours, a railway ministry official said. The train will operate from Deolali to Danapur.Updated: Aug 08, 2020 08:26 IST
The first ‘Kisan Rail’ train for transportation of perishable goods with refrigerated coaches to assist farmers by ensuring fast transportation of agriculture produce across the country was flagged off on Friday from Deolali in Maharashtra) to Danapur in Bihar.
It is expected to reduce transportation costs by Rs 1,000 per tonne compared to roadways and also reduce travel time by around 15 hours, a railway ministry official said. The train will operate from Deolali to Danapur. This is a weekly service running every Friday form Deolali, and returning on Sunday from Danapur. The scheduled time of the journey is 31 hours and 45 mins (one-way).
“Nasik and surrounding regions produce a huge quantity of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, other perishables, onions and other agro products,” the railway ministry said.
In her Budget 2020 speech, Nirmala Sitharamam said the Indian Railways will set up a ‘Kisan Rail’ through public private partnership (PPP) with refrigerated coaches for transportation of perishable goods inclusive of milk, meat and fish.
“The Nasik/Bhusawal region has a huge production of fruits as well as green vegetables, such as onions and green chilies. This produce was moving largely by road towards the eastern part of country, and Railways’ share in this transportation was miniscule. But with efforts of Railway officials, this traffic is now coming towards Railway – as the time to be taken by Rail is approximately 15 hours lesser than the road, and the freight charges are also cheaper by more than ₹1,000 per tonne,” the official said.
Reefers, or refrigerated containers, facilitate the movement of cargo that requires a strict temperature-controlled environment. At present, the railways’ subsidiary CONCOR provides reefer services. Cold chains as a business area involves providing transportation to perishable products from source to end-user while maintaining a certain temperature along the route.
“Out of nearly 2000 loaded freight trains running every day, around 10 trains are of perishables where onion is the main commodity. When loaded in wagons we are nearly 25%, when loaded in parcel we would be around 10 % cheaper approximately. As of now we are pretty insignificant in perishables but since there are volumes here we have targeted this for getting a larger share,” the official said.
.“Indian Railways aims to help double farmers’ income with the launch of Kisan Rail. This train will help in bringing perishable agricultural products like vegetables, fruits to the market in a short period of time. The train with frozen containers is expected to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of fish, meat and milk, the ministry said in a statement. The train is presently planned with 10 parcel vans with a total capacity being 238 tonnes. “
“Any farmer or any other interested party can directly book their consignments in this train, without any lower limit on the size of consignment. The consignment can be as small as 50-100 kgs, and can be booked from any stopping station to any other stopping station. Regarding loss/damage of products for any reason, Railways already has a well-established claim/compensation system – through which the party can get compensation for its losses,” the official added.
The train was flagged off via video conferencing by union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and railway minister Piyush Goyal. Speaking on the occasion, Goyal said, “This train will serve as a milestone in doubling farmers’ income. Indian Railways and farmers had been forefront in battle against Covid challenges. Foodgrains freight was doubled during the period. Interest of Indian farmers is being looked after like never before. I am looking forward to see the day when apples of Kashmir reach Kanyakumari through Kisan Rail.”