Nagpur: The first Kisan Rail transporting Nagpur oranges to Delhi will start from Wednesday. The Kisan Rail will be carrying around 300 tonnes of the citrus fruit to the national capital from the second capital of Maharashtra. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will flag off the maiden run of Orange Special ex-Nagpur Railway Station on Wednesday at 6 pm. A mini rake of 10 parcel vans (VPs) would be run till Adarsh Nagar Station in New Delhi carrying first bulk consignment of the table fruit from the orange belt of Central India.
As per stipulation of Railway Board, parcels of perishable products within the country can be carried in short rakes. The decision was done to aid faster transport of perishable goods to markets from farms and cut down wastage in transport. Apart from that, Railways too stands to benefit as it is making optimum utilisation of its assets and ensuring that COVID-19 pandemic do not choke the supply lines.
In run-up to Kisan Rail, Central Railway’s Nagpur Division placed VPs at Warud (5), Katol (1), Narkhed (1) and Pandhurna (3) to facilitate loading by the traders who placed their indents for transport of oranges. In addition, division bosses decided to add two extra bogies over and above Board’s stipulation and the gamble has paid off. The response from commission agents is encouraging and one consignment of 10 tonnes is arriving for loading to the city from Morshi. Since the VPs at adjoining stations were already full, the agent frantically contacted Commercial Department officials and inquired about availability of VP. The officials are sure that even the balance spare capacity as of now would be fully loaded as word spread about availability of VPs.
Central Railway is all set to capture lion’s share in transport of the mandarin fruit and Warud station would see major loading as major produce is now concentrated in this belt. In fact, this is the very first instance of oranges being transported through rail route as so far VPs eluded the cultivators due to lack of political will. But with Railways aggressively entering the transport market it may provide stiff competition to the road sector in the long run.
The oranges are still being harvested and by the third week of October the quantity of arrival in the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard would increase manifold. Even South East Central Railway (SECR) Nagpur Division is seeking to capture orange traffic, this is a new product for railways, and is concentrating on Saunsar in neighbouring Chhindwara district.