NEW DELHI, August 9:

The railways will begin its Kisan Rail services to transport perishables from August 7, it said on Thursday, adding the first such train, carrying vegetables and fruits, would run between Devlali in Maharashtra and Danapur in Bihar.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced this initiative in her Budget speech earlier this year envisaging setting up of a ‘Kisan Rail’ through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode for a cold supply chain to transport perishable goods.

“As announced in the current year’s Budget to start ‘Kisan Rail’ for providing a seamless supply chain of perishable produce, the Ministry of Railways is introducing the first Kisan Rail from Devlali to Danapur on August 7 at 11 am on a weekly basis…,” the ministry said in a statement.

The train will reach Danapur at 6.45 pm on the next day, covering 1,519 km in 31.45 hours, it said.

Central Railway, Bhusawal Division is primarily an agro-based division and Nasik and the surrounding region produces huge quantities of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, other perishables, onions and other agro products.

These perishables are mainly transported to areas around Patna, Allahabad, Katni, Satna and others.

The Kisan Rail has been provided scheduled halts at Nasik Road, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Satna, Katni, Manikpur, Prayagraj Chheoki, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Nagar and Buxar.

“Aggressive marketing is being done with local farmers, loaders, APMC and individuals. Wide publicity is being done in print and electronic media. Demand is being aggregated and it is expected that the train will be patronised well and will be a great help to the farmers, as the freight of this train will be charged at ‘P’ Scale,” the statement said.

The proposal to use refrigerated parcel vans to ferry perishables was first announced by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee in the 2009-10 Budget. However, it failed to take off.

Since then, the railways has commissioned temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres at Ghazipur Ghat (UP), New Azadpur (Adarsh Nagar, Delhi) and Raja ka Talab (UP) as a pilot project under the Kisan Vision Project by Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) through a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative. Another project is under construction at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra’s Nasik.