New Delhi, Feb 1: Even as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to set up a ‘Kisan Rail’ through the public-private-partnership (PPP) model for the cold supply chain to transport perishable goods in her Budget speech on Saturday, the national transporter said that nine such refrigerated vans were already available on its network.
Speaking to media at Rail Bhawan here, Railway Board Chairman V.K. Yadav said these vans, with a carrying capacity of 17 tonnes each for transportation of highly-perishable parcel traffic, were developed and procured through the Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala (Punjab).
“We are already working on the announcement made by the finance minister. With her proposal, there is a renewed impetus for us,” he said.
Yadav also said temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres were commissioned at Ghazipur Ghat in Uttar Pradesh, New Azadpur in New Delhi, and Raja ka Talab again In Uttar Pradesh as a pilot project under the Kisan Vision Project by CONCOR through a CSR initiative.
He said another project is under construction at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra’s Nasik.
“Approval has been granted to the Central Railside Warehousing Corporation (CRWC) to develop temperature-controlled storages at Fatuha and Mancheswar. Cold storage facility has also been developed at Dadri.
“The Fresh and Healthy Enterprise Ltd (FHEL) has been redeveloped as the Agriculture Logistic Centre at Rai in Haryana’s Sonepat, which is a CONCOR’s 100 per cent owned subsidiary, developed on a land measuring 16.40 acre,” the Chairman said.
Yadav said 98 refrigerated rail containers with a carrying capacity of 12 tonnes per container were procured through CONCOR for movement of fruits and vegetables to different parts of the country.
“To build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables, the Indian Railways will set up Kisan Rail through PPP model so that perishable goods can be transported quickly,” Sitharaman said while presenting the Union Budget 2020-21.
Perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish and meat need to be carried in such temperature-controlled vans.
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.
“There are no operational issues with the running of these vans. We needed infrastructure in the form of cold storage warehouses at both the source and destination centres. With the Budget announcement, we hope that private players will come forward and we will be able to transport such perishables with ease,” Yadav added.