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India launches First “Kisan Rail” service - Lower Transportation Cost, Freight Charges expected now

Another innovative service was launched by the government of India August 7, 2020 onwards. The Kisan rail service was flagged off with the sole objective of improving farmer’s financial situation.

Abhijeet Banerjee
Kisan Rail Service Started
Kisan Rail Service Started

The year 2020 surely seems to be year for Agriculture sector as well as farmers’ welfare. Indian Railways had launched the Kisan Rail service on August 7 – a welcome move, which is aimed to benefit farmers producing perishable commodities.  As per officials the Railways' Kisan Rail service will play an important role in reducing the transport time of perishable foodstuffs such as fruits and vegetables by roughly 15 hours and cost farmers Rs 1,000 per tonne less than transportation through road. The service has commenced as a pilot project and the train’s journey shall start from Deolali in Maharashtra and end in Danapur, Bihar. The Centre had already announced plans of starting special parcel trains called ‘Kisan Rail’ in this financial year’s Budget.   

The train will run with ten parcel vans with a total capacity to carry 238 tonnes of cargo. It will run on a weekly service operating every Friday from Deolali, and returning on Sunday from Danapur.  One way journey would take roughly 31 hrs 45 minutes. By road the total time taken is around 47 hours. Therefore through rail transport, the travel time will be nearly 15 hours less. No refrigerated wagons are being used in this pilot project.  

The innovative service will be beneficial for fruit & vegetable growers of Nasik/Bhusawal region. This belt has larger production of fruits as well as green vegetables, like onions and green chilies. Earlier, transportation used to happen from this region towards eastern part of the country. Now with reduced journey time, it is expected that greater percentage of transportation of these items will be through the Indian Railways henceforth. Since the new facility will be lowering transportation cost, the freight charges will turn cheaper. As per officials the freight reduction will be to the extent of Rs 1,000 per tonne.  

Officials also stated that the Railways will follow its usual claim/compensation system in case there was any loss or damage to any products due to any unfortunate incident. Media persons were told by government persons that in near future it will be convenient for farmers or any other interested party, to directly book their consignments on this train without specifying for lower limit regarding size of the consignment. Size of the consignment can be as small as 50-100 kgs, Bookings for these consignments can be from one (any) halting station to other halting(any) station. So farmers will have flexibility over consignment bookings.  

According to Railway Board Chairman Mr. VK Yadav the vans’ carrying capacity is 17 tonnes each, and highly-perishable parcels can be booked now. These vans were developed & procured through the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala. Also, the Central Railside Warehousing Corporation has been given a green signal by the government to develop temperature-controlled storage facilities at Fatuha and Mancheswar. 

Already a cold storage facility has been developed at Dadri area. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on this occasion looked quite optimistic regarding future prospects of this service and told media persons that the train will serve as a milestone in doubling farmers’ income and looking forward to see the day when apples of Kashmir would reach Kanyakumari through the Kisan Rail. 

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