During the much-anticipated Budget speech, FM Nirmala Sitharaman announced Central Government’s plan to set up an initiative called ‘Kisan Rail’ under PPP arrangement for a seamless national cold supply chain for perishable items.
Under the Kisan Rail initiative, refrigerated coaches will be added in Express and Freight trains for the transportation of perishable goods from the producer to the market. The initiative has been welcomed by various stakeholders in the agri-industry.
The new design of the Refrigerated Parcel Vans (with carrying capacity of 17 tonnes) for transportation of highly perishable parcel traffic was developed and produced at Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala, informed a release published by PIB.
Indian Railways, at present, has a fleet of nine Refrigerated Parcel Vans available for transportation of perishable items. And, these Refrigerated Parcel Vans are booked on a round-trip basis and are charged at 1.5 times the freight of normal parcel van as per the category of the train.
Around 98 Ventilated Insulated Containers (carrying capacity 12 Tonnes per container, rake composition 80 containers) have been procured, through CONCOR, for movement of fruits and vegetables to different parts of the country.
The Indian Railways under Kisan Vision Project by CONCOR under CSR initiative has already commissioned temperature controlled perishable cargo centres at locations like Ghazipur Ghat (UP), New Azadpur (Adarsh Nagar, Delhi) and Raja ka Talab (UP).
Apart from this, another project at Lasalgaon, Nasik (Maharashtra) is under construction.Approval has been granted to Central Railside Warehousing Corporation (CRWC) to develop temperature controlled storages at Fatuha and Mancheswar.
Cold storage facility has also been developed at Dadri. Fresh & Healthy Enterprise Ltd. (FHEL) has been redeveloped as Agriculture Logistic Center at Rai, Sonepat, which is a 100% subsidiary of CONCOR and is developed in an area of 16.40 acres of land.
The Kisan Rail initiative is expected to reduce post-harvest losses for the state’s farmers by helping in effective export of residual produce to other parts of the state.