In an attempt to help the agriculture sector revive from the pandemic, the Indian Railways has decided to extend subsidy of 50% on the transportation charges on vegetables and fruits.
The decision was taken on Tuesday comes after the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) agreed to extend subsidy through Kisan Rail Trains (KRTs) under ‘Operation Greens’. MoFPI will initially provide INR 10 crore to the Railways (to be deposited with South Central Railway).
Therefore, zonal railways have been requested to extend a subsidy of 50% on transportation of selected fruits and vegetables through KRTs with immediate effect.
Chief parcel supervisor of the loading station will be responsible for ensuring that only the notified commodities are extended the benefits of this scheme.
According to MoFPI, transportation charges of fruits such as mango, banana, guava, kiwi, lychee, papaya, sweet lemon, orange, kinnow, lime, lemon, pineapple, pomegranate, jackfruit, apple, almond, passion fruit and pear while vegetables like French beans, bitter ground, brinjal, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, chillies(green), okra, cucumber, peas, garlic, onion, potato and tomato would be waived.
As per MoFPI, the objective of providing 50% subsidy in transportation via Railways is to protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale and reduce the post-harvest losses.
A railway official requesting anonymity said, “Farmers of west UP have started booking freight trains for potato and capsicum load, which they want to be transported to north eastern state as well as southern states.”
“The move by Railway ministry and MoFPI will definitely benefit the farmers, as the discount in transportation charge will help the farmers to gain over their production cost. Further, Railways is also providing refrigerated containers/coaches for us to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh till they reach mandis.”~Mohan Singh Chahar, Braj Prant chairperson of Bharatiya Kisan union
The Kisan Rail services launched last month started its maiden journey from Devlali in Maharashtra to Danapur in Bihar. The Kisan Rail is a step towards realizing the goal of doubling farmers income by 2022 and will also provide a seamless supply chain of perishable produce including milk, meat and fish.