In a bid to reduce the dependence of orange growers and farmers from Vidarbha on road connectivity for transporting their produce, highways minister Nitin Gadkari has asked Central Railway to start Kisan Rail in the region, which can cut time as well as cost.
According to Gadkari, at least 2.5 lakh tonne oranges are transported to Bangladesh every year. Presently, the growers are fully dependent on road transport, which takes 72 hours to reach the destination. In view of this, Gadkari has asked Nagpur divisional railway manager (DRM) Somesh Kumar and senior divisional commercial manager (SrDCM) Krishnath Patil to prepare a road map for Kisan Rail for transporting oranges and other produce.
“Kisan Rail can reduce the transportation time by 50%, thus saving cost and time. This will also keep the perishable goods fresh,” the minister told Central Railway officials in a meeting held on Saturday. The officials have given a green signal to the proposal.
Gadkari said Kisan Rail can load oranges from Warud, Katol, Morshi, Nagpur and Narkhed stations. Oranges from this region are also transported to Jaipur, Bengaluru, Delhi and other big towns.
Central Railway should launch a 20-wagon Kisan Rail which can transport around 470 tonne oranges. The officials were asked to develop a website through which farmers can book their goods in advance.
“When Suresh Prabhu was commerce minister, Gadkari had pushed for making Vidarbha an orange cluster for the benefit of farmers. Kisan Rail is need of the hour,” said Shreedharao Thakre, executive director of MahaOrange, formed to boost exports.
Kisan Rail initiative is already working well in Nashik-Solapur-Pune belt by transporting nutritious, immunity-boosting pomegranate (anar) from Maharashtra to northern India. In the last one month, Kisan Rail had transported more than 1,100 tonne pomegranate.
“Farmers, availing the benefit of cheap and fastest mode of transport, are excited as the Kisan Rail is running thrice a week. It is becoming popular among farmers of Maharashtra,” says Central Railway chief public relations officer (CPRO) Shivaji Sutar.
Kisan Rail is transporting perishable goods like anar, capsicum, cauliflower, lemon, green chillies, iced-fish, live plants, eggs and other vegetables from Sangola, Pandharpur, Kopargaon, Pune, Daund, Nashik, Manmad etc in the state.
Started on August 7, 2020 as a weekly service from Devlali to Danapur in Bihar and further extended up to Muzaffarpur and later attaching a link rail at Manmad, Kisan Rail is now running as a tri-weekly and is receiving growing response from farmers.
Introduced by the ministry of railways with the support of ministry of agriculture, Kisan Rail has brought hope and opportunity for the farmers to increase their income with faster mode of transport, fresh delivery of perishables, with no restriction on quantity, cheaper than road and saving huge transport costs including tolls.
(With inputs from TimesOfIndia)