The 'Kisan Rail’ — first of its kind service – is ready for its launch. To be operational between Karnataka and Delhi, the service is meant to help farmers transport agricultural produce — especially the perishable items — in a more cost effective manner. The service will start from Saturday, the South Western Railway (SWR) said.
This will be operational till October 19. "The train will run via Mysuru,Hubbali and Pune, and will make five trips," the SWR said.
The farmers have faced severe problems in transporting their produce especially in the wake of the nationwide lockdown. "The connectivity will bring good opportunity for the farmer and expected to make the process of moving production of the farmers cheaper than any other mode opted earlier,“ SWR said.
An aggressive marketing exercise has been undertaken by the Central Railways in coordination with local farmers, businessmen and the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) to ensure the farmers get maximum benefit, the Central Railways stated.
The decision to start such a service is in line with the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's announcement in the 2020-21 budget to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishable items including milk, meat and fish.
Meanwhile, the Center has already started the process to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, with a view to deregulating food items – a move that will help increase farmers’ income. Sitharaman, while announcing the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package in May laid out the Center’s intentions to bring in structural reforms in various sectors including agriculture.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to double farmers’ income by 2024.
The Union Cabinet has also given its nod for ‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’ which will facilitate free trade in agricultural produce.
The move, experts said, will go a long way in transforming India’s farm sector..