First horticulture train leaves from Nashik

The first special horticulture train carrying onions from Nashik farmers left for Kolkata on Monday, providing a new avenue for transporting agricultural goods to distant places in the country in less time and expenditure.

The container rake docked at the Kherwadi railway station, north of the Nashik Road station, to receive the cargo. The horticulture express, according to officials, would deliver consignments to Chitpur near Kolkata, covering 1,800km in 36 hours. Currently, onions are transported by trucks that need at least 120 hours for the journey.

The dedicated special train, designed to carry agricultural produce across the country, has been introduced jointly by the National Horticulture Board and the Container Corporation of Railways (ConCor). It will help farmers and traders from Nashik to reach markets in West Bengal in less time and costs, A Farooq, an agent who booked the train at Kherwadi in Nashik district said. Kherwadi is a centrally located railway station having proximity to Niphad, Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon, major onion producing towns in the country.

“We used to transport onions in goods trains earlier as well, but the box wagons were less helpful for transportation as they generally had no ventilation and the doors had to be kept open, though they were sealed by wooden planks. This led to theft of the produce. Now we have specially designed containers which have good ventilation, which will also help increase the shelf life of the produce,” Farooq said.

Earlier, it would take more than 120 hours at the cost of Rs 40,000 per container to transport 16 tonne of onions, while the same will now cost Rs 32,000 and travel time will be just 36 hours, Farooq said.

The Nashik director of the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), R P Gupta, said that the train would help give a boost to traders and growers in the region.

“The traders and the growers, so also the consumers, will benefit from the reduced time of travel between the two destinations. The design of the containers is almost satisfactory because we feel that some more ventilation has to be added to it. The ventilation on the top, bottom and sides is good, but more is required at the centre, front and rear ends as well,” Gupta noted.

Small traders and farmers to benefit

Small farmers and traders, who had to cough up huge sums to transport goods to Kolkata, won’t have to bear with carting agents anymore as the new train promises to deliver goods, even in small quantities, to the unit of one container without agents or middleman, Changdeorao Holkar, managing committee member, National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation, said.

“Even small farmers who wish to transport goods to various destinations now have the chance to do so without coughing up huge sums to middle-men or clearing agents. All that farmers and agents have to do is go to the Railways and book one or two containers, as per their requirement, make the payment and fix the date when the rake will available for transport,” Holkar said.

Published in: on June 23, 2012 at 3:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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