Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Tuesday flagged off a ‘Kisan’ Rail service to New Delhi, with 250-tonne mangoes from Chintamani in Kolar district from the Yelahanka railway station here.
“Kisan Rail service plays a vital role in providing best price for farmers’ produce and enables them to get access to distant markets to increase their income,” Yediyurappa said on the occasion.
The Indian Railways had launched the ‘Kisan’ Rail service across the country in August 2020 to benefit the farmers and traders of agricultural products and exporters, who were affected by the pandemic since April last year.
The Railways is giving 50 per cent subsidy in freight rates for transporting farm goods, including foodgrains, vegetables and fruits in the Kisal Rail service.
“The subsidised freight rate enables the farmers to transport their goods at less than the cost they incur on trucks besides saving time in covering the distance,” a South Western Railway (SWR) zone official said.
The zonal railway has ferried about 1,250 tonnes of mangoes from Chikballapur and Kolar districts in five Kisan Rail services since June 6.
“As Kisan Rail runs faster with few halts to pick farm goods from stations enroute, the dedicated train covers 2,300 km from Kolar to Delhi in about 40 hours, enabling the fruits and vegetables to retain their freshness,” the official said.
The service also ensures secure transportation of farm goods to distant markets and their consumption centres.
Bengaluru railway divisional manager A.K. Verma said that farmers are charged Rs 2.82 per kg for transporting fruits and vegetables on Kisan Rail, while ferrying the same goods by road transport would cost them Rs 7-8 per kg.
“Ferrying farm products on Kisan Rail is also faster as road transport takes 3-4 days to reach Delhi instead of about 40 hours by our special service,” said Verma.
Besides seasonal fruits, the Kisan Rail service has been transporting onions, tomatoes and other vegetables every 2-3 days.
The zonal railway had ran the first Kisan Rail service from Karnataka to New Delhi on September 19, 2020, with 30 tonnes of vegetables and other farm products from the Bengaluru city station.