Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday flagged off India's first "Kisan Rail" from Devlali in Maharashtra's Nashik at 11 am on Friday for Danapur in Bihar's capital Patna via video conferencing.
The train, which will run on a weekly basis with an initial composition of 10 +1 VPs will reach Danapur at 6:45 pm on Saturday after covering the journey of 1,519 kilometres in over 31 hours.
Speaking on the occasion, Goyal said that Indian Railways has put trains in service of Farmers.
"It was the guidance and inspiration by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Indian Railways have started Kisan Rail. This train will serve as a milestone in doubling Farmers income. Indian Railways and Farmers had been forefront in battle against Covid challenges. Foodgrains freight was doubled during the period. Interest of Indian Farmers is being looked after like never before. I am looking forward to see the day when apples of Kashmir reach Kanyakumari through Kisan Rail," he said.
Tomar said that it is a great day for farmers and this train will also benefit the farmers and the consumers.
"Kisan Rail was announced in the budget. Agriculture produce needs best possible distribution and returns. Indian farmers have proved that they would never be deterred by any calamity or challenge. Kisan Rail will ensure that agri products reach from one corner to another corner of the country," he said.
Kisan Rail will be game changer in ensuring a fast transportation of agriculture produce across the nation, he said.
The minister praised Indian Railways for maintenance of foodgrains supply chain during covid times.
The chargeable rates for major pair of stations are as under Freight per Tonne from Nasik Road/Devlali to Danapur is Rs 4,001, from Manmad to Danapur is Rs 3,849, from Jalgaon to Danapur Rs 3,513, from Bhusawal to Danapur is Rs 3,459, from Burhanpur to Danapur Rs 3,323 and from Khandwa to Danapur is Rs 3,148.
Indian Railways aims to help double farmers' income with the launch of Kisan Rail.
"This train will help in bringing perishable agricultural products like vegetables, fruits to the market in a short period of time. The train with frozen containers is expected to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, inclusive of fish, meat and milk," read the release.
Indian Railways have earlier run single commodity special trains like Banana Specials etc. But this will be the first ever multi commodity trains and will carry fruits like Pomegranate, Banana, Grapes etc and vegetables like Capsicum, Cauliflower, Drumsticks, Cabbage, Onion,Chillies etc. Aggressive marketing is being done with local farmers, loaders, APMC and individuals.
"Demand is being aggregated. It is expected that the train will be patronised well and will be a great help to the farmers, as freight of this train will be charged as per parcel tariff of normal train (P Scale)," the release said.
The event was attended by Minister of State of Railways Suresh C. Angadi, Minister of State of Agriculture and Family Welfare, Parshottam Khodabhai Rupala, Minister of State of Agriculture and Family Welfare Kailash Chaudhary, Minister of State of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Rao Sahab Patil Danve, Leader of Opposition, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, Minister of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Government of Maharashtra, Chhagan Bhujbal, and other dignitaries.
( With inputs from ANI )