Now, a vegetable market on wheels

India’s first sabzi-mandi express or Horticulture Express, a dedicated refrigerated train, is set to roll to link up sabji mandis of Turbhe in Vashi to the one at New Delhi in a month.

The project has been taken up by the National Horticulture Board (NHB) after the onion crisis in the country in January, for seamless, fast and dedicated transport of vegetables and fruits.

The train will take the Turbhe-Kalyan-Nashik-Bhusawal-Delhi route to transport grapes, bananas, potatoes and apples and will return via Agra and Surat route. The train will have 90 insulated and ventilated containers which can be replaced by refrigerated containers if the produce so requires.

The Agriculture Produce Market Committee market director Ashok
Walunj said that there were indeed plans to run such a train, but the market committee had not yet received a detailed schedule and exact dates of the run.

“Linking production centres with major marketing centres in the country is crucial. The containerised Horticulture Train between Turbhe and New Azadpur is a pilot project and based on its success, other such origin-destination pair routes will also be linked,” said a senior official.

The sources from the NHB said that the train intends to link up big mandis of the country. The Agriculture Produce Market Committee market at Turbhe is one of the biggest wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and the major fruit commodities there include pomegranate, custard apple, papaya, chikoo and guava. The train will have the infrastructure to ferry fruits and vegetables fresh and subsequently comprise both refrigerated and non-refrigerated wagons.

The NHB is launching the project in association with the Indian Railways and the Container Corporation of India.