The ‘Kisan Rail’ project mentioned by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 will soon become a reality, with its pilot project to be launched on August 7 by Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar.
A Kisan Special Parcel Train, as a pilot, will ply between Devlali in Maharashtra to Danapur in Bihar from August 7 to August 30. This train will leave Devlali at 11am on Friday and reach Danapur by 6.45am the next day. The same train will return from Danapur at noon on Sunday and reach Devlali at 7.45am on Monday.
There will be at least 14 stoppages on this route, from Nasik Road to Bhusawal to Jabalpur and Buksar. The Railways is also open to increasing the number of stoppages upon farmer demand.
This special parcel train will be run by the Central Railways.
These special parcel trains with 10 coaches will have a luggage break coach. Farmers will be able to book a parcel by contacting the local railway station. This will transport various goods including fruits and vegetables.
The Kisan Rail services will come as a relief for farmers struggling to sell their produce, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Top sources in the Railways told CNN-News18 that a total of five routes, including the maiden Devlali to Danapur route, have been identified for a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables including of milk, meat and fish. These include:
– A Mango Special Kisan Train between Vijayawada and Vizianagaram to Delhi between April and June.
– An Onion/Banana Special from Kherwadi/Nashik for onions and from Jalgaon for banana supply to Jammu and Delhi between March and December.
– A Sapota Special to transport chickoo from Surat and Valsad to Delhi between April and November.
– A Banana Container Special for export from Tadipatri to Jawahar Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).
– A Protein Container Special for export between Dadri and Kanpur to JNPT, Mundra and Pipavav has also been identified.
While it has been a tough year for the Railways with regular passenger operations halted for nearly four months, the nation’s lifetime has run freight trains at a record capacity to ensure smooth transportation of essential goods. The trains transported 16.17 million tonnes of food grain as compared to 8.8 million tonnes last year, an increase of 84%.
The Railways has also plied a record number of Shramik Special Trains for migrant labourers, with 4,602 trains ferrying close to 63 lakh migrants to their homes during the lockdown.
Only 230 passenger trains along specific routes are currently plying since many parts of the country are still under the lockdown.