Fulfilling the promise made in the Union Budget 2020-21 for transporting perishable goods, Union Railway and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday, through video conferencing, flagged off the first Kisan Rail from Maharashtra's Devlali to Bihar's Danapur.
Speaking on the occasion, Goyal said, "Today we have launched the first Kisan Rail on pilot basis."
He said the Prime Minister feels that the Indian Railways should be the engine for the development in the country.
"During the coronavirus pandemic, Railways has ensured proper supply of essential items across the country and I congratulate all the Railway employees," Goyal said.
Goyal further said that through Railways the goods of farmers will reach every corner of the country easily.
"We will take this effort further and when we bring the apples from the farmers of Kashmir to Kanyakumari, that will be more gratifying for us," he added.
The train departed from Devlali on Friday at 11 a.m. and will reach Danapur at 6.45 p.m. next day covering a distance of 1,519 km in approx 32 hours. On the reverse trip, the train will depart from Danapur on Sunday and reach Devlali on Monday.
According to Railway Ministry official, the Bhusawal Division in the Central Railway is primarily an agro based division as Nasik and surrounding region produce huge quantity of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, onions and other agro products which are perishable.
He said that these perishable items are mainly transported to areas around Patna, Allahabad, Katni, Satna etc.
The train will have its stoppages at Nasik Road, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Satna, Katni, Manikpur, Prayagraj Chheoki, Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Nagar and Buxar.
The official further said that aggressive marketing is being done with local farmers, loaders, APMC and individuals to use the Kisan Rail to transport perishable goods.
Freight tarrif from Devlali to Danapur per tonne is Rs 4,001, while from Manmad to Danapur is Rs 3,849, the railway official added.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to start 'Kisan Rail' through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode for a cold supply chain to transport perishable goods in her budget speech.
The Kisan Rail will comprise refrigerated coaches in Express and Freight trains.
Indian Railways has developed a new design of refrigerated parcel vans with the carrying capacity of 17 tonnes for the transportation of highly perishable parcel traffic. It was procured through Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala. The Indian Railways currently has a fleet of nine such refrigerated vans and they can be booked on a round-trip basis.
The Kisan Rail train with frozen containers is expected to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of fish, meat and milk, the official added.