Dhoraji onions take the train route to reach Bangladesh market

Onions from Rajkot’s Dhoraji town are hurtling down top speed to Bangladesh’s Darshana station. Western Railways, for the first time, is transporting goods to Bangladesh. A goods train carrying the stock has left Dhoraji on Tuesday evening.

While the trade is not new, so long onion traders were traditionally exporting their stock to the neighbouring country via trucks through Malda of West Bengal.

With the target to expand freight business, the Business Development Unit (BDU) of WR’s Bhavnagar division designed the road map to transport onion to Bangladesh and convinced Dhoraji, Upleta and Gondal traders to use the rail transport system.

Traders purchase onions from farmers of Rajkot, Junagadh and Porbandar districts and transport it to other parts of the country and also to Bangladesh via trucks.

According to railway officials, the first such train to Bangladesh is transporting 2439.5 tonne onions and will travel a distance of 2,427km to reach its destination.

The wagons are loaded at Dhoraji railway station and a railway statement said they are expecting to make 3 to 4 rakes this month after sending the first rake on Tuesday.

According to Dhoraji traders, the train is filled with nearly 15 traders’ commodities. Mahesh Nathvani an onion trader in Dhoraji who is also coordinating between traders and railway authority said, “This is a good facility for us as not only transportation gets cheaper, it will also reach the destination faster. By truck it took us around 8 days, while by train it will reach in 4 to 5 days. As it is a perishable item, railways has promised us to provide rakes as per our need.”

He further said that as onion loses weight with time, the sooner it reaches the market, the better prices it will fetch for traders. Indian farmers cultivate yellow onion which is acidic and tear-inducing which is in high demand in Bangladesh. Shabbir Tumbi, another onion trader said, “This is the end of onion season, but after Diwali the new season will start. If we get regular rakes then, it will surely boost our business.”