India's first 'Kisan Rail'
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar on 7 August 2020 flagged off the country's first 'Kisan Rail' train from Deolali in Nashik to Danapur in Bihar, through video-conferencing. Kisan Rail will help in transporting agricultural produce, especially perishable commodities, at cheaper rates and aid farmers in getting the right price for their crops. Tomar, who also holds Rural Development and Panchayati Raj portfolios, said the Indian Railways had operated 4,610 trains on 96 routes, ensuring supply of food items across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 'Kisan Rail' is a weekly service that departs from Deolali every Friday at 11 am and reaches Danapur the next day at 6.45 pm.
- On the return journey, the train will depart from Danapur every Sunday at 12 pm and reach Deolali at 7.45 pm the next day.
- The train will cover a distance of 1,519 kms in 31.45 hours on a single trip and will halt at Nashik Road, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Satna, Katni, Manikpur, Prayagraj Chheoki, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay junction and Buxar stations.
- The Kisan Rail will provide a good market to the farmers for their produce. Aggressive marketing is being done by the Central Railway in coordination with local farmers, businessmen and the APMC to ensure farmers get maximum benefit.
- The announcement regarding the "Kisan Rail" was made in the current year's Budget.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced this initiative in her Budget speech envisaging setting up of a 'Kisan Rail' through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode for a cold supply chain to transport perishable goods.
- 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 has failed to take off.