Kisan Rail, a game changer for small farmers: Minister
New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) Union Rail Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday said that the Kisan Rails have become a boon for small farmers during the pandemic and even after that.
YSR Congress' Talavi Rangaiah that this service is a 'game changer' for small and famers who have been producing fruits and vegetables.
Responding to a question during the Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, the Rail Minister also informed that as of now 1,642 Kisan Rails have been operating and by introducing the sleeper coaches in these rails, the damage to the goods has been substantially less.
The Minister also said that the transporting costs via Kisan Rail is still cheaper than the truck. He also said that these are goods trains, therefore, the farmers are not allowed to travel in these trains.
Replying to the BJP Member Sanghmitra Maurya's question to initiate a Kisan rail from Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, Viashnaw further said if booking of goods comes up in good numbers, the Ministry will definitely consider the proposal to start a new Kisan rail from there.
He also informed the House that for perishable goods like vegetables and fruits, the air conditioned containers are being used. And the government also provides a 50 per cent subsidy on the freight for perishable items. The Minister also said that for transporting milk, special tankers are being used.
The provision of the Kisan Rail was announced during the Union Budget of 2020-21 and this was launched for perishable items in September this year. Kisan Rail transformed smaller stations into major farm produce loading hubs and enriched small and marginal farmers due to stoppages at small stations. Smaller stations like Sangola, Jeur, Rahuri, Kopargaon, Yeola, Niphad have become major fruits and vegetable loading hubs.
The Indian Railways is running the Kisan Rail train services, to transport perishables and agri-products including milk, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Main crops or farm-produce transported via Kisan Rail train include oranges, onions, potato, banana, mango, tomato, pomegranate, custard apple, capsicum, chikoo, carrot from the small villages to big cities and the farmers have now been getting better price in comparison with the local sale.