During the lockdown, the Indian Railways realised that transporting fruits and vegetables can be fruitful, if not as lucrative as transporting people, its core business. The Central Railway (CR) has reported operating 600 trips of Kisan Rail, while the Western Railway (WR) operated 100 such trains during the lockdown. In fact, on September 19, the CR flagged off its 600th such train.
As for the goods, while CR transported 2.08 lakh tonnes of fruits and vegetables across the country, WR ferried 21,526 tonnes of perishable goods through Kisan Rail. The CR authorities termed it as something that ensured access to bigger and new markets for the farm produce, with quick transportation and zero wastage.
"We had the distinction of running the first Kisan Rail on August 7, 2020 and the 100th trip took place on December 28, 2020 which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a weblink. The 500th trip of Kisan Rail ran on August 12, 2021, and now, the 600th trip left Sangola to Muzaffarpur on September 19," said a CR official.
The railways have been transporting grapes, pomegranate, lemon, capsicum from Solapur region, flowers from Latur and Osmanabad region, onions from Nashik region, banana from Bhusawal and Jalgaon region, oranges from Nagpur region and other fruits and vegetables that reach distant markets in Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal quickly and in a fresh condition.
The government has also extended a subsidy of 50 per cent to farmers as a part of Operation Green – TOP to TOTAL – under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. This resulted in railways becoming the first choice of the farmers for their transportation.
Anil Kumar Lahoti, General Manager, Central Railway appreciated the CR team for their efforts in successfully running 600 trips of Kisan Rail. At present, the Cr runs six Kisan Rail services, namely via Devlali-Muzaffarpur, Sangola-Muzaffarpur, Sangola-Adarsh Nagar Delhi, Sangola-Shalimar, Raver-Adarsh Nagar Delhi and Savda-Adarsh Nagar Delhi.
The WR ran 84 trains and earned a revenue of Rs 8.22 crore. The WR flagged off its first Kisan Rail on November 24, 2020. Mumbai Central Division made its debut of its first Kisan Rail on January 28, 2021 from Dahanu Road station to Adarsh Nagar station in Delhi, for chikoo after 16 years.
Kisan Rail services are benefitting all sections of farmers from Dahanu, Gholvad region in Maharashtra and Valsad, Udvada, Chikhli, Navsari, Amalsad region in Gujarat. The Kisan Rail operations and the scheme under ‘Operations Greens Schemes from Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to all fruits & vegetables (TOTAL) introduced has played a pivotal role in helping the entire agricultural community.
The WR ran 83 Milk Special trains with a load of more than 58,000 tonnes. Similarly, 98 Covid-19 special parcel trains with a load of 18,200 tonnes were also run to transport essential commodities. From April 1 to September 12, a total 17,251 rakes of goods trains were transported by WR that carried 37.50 million tonnes of essential commodities.