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Need for kisan Rail from Salem

The farmers’ agitation seems to have revived interest on the Kisan Rail as another incentive to farmers spread across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the 100thKisan Rail from Sangola, Maharashtra to Shalimar, West Bengal through video conferencing. Delhi is connected with Anantapur (AP), Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Nagpur (Maharashtra) and Devlali (Maharashtra) with Muzaffarpur (Bihar), by Kisan Rails. 

Recent years have witnessed a huge jump in the production of vegetables and fruits. Several states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and UP have been recording substantial increases in the production of fruits. The Kisan Rail is a welcome effort to transport, through highspeed dedicated trains, to move horticulture products from surplus states to markets spread across, especially in the east and north.

India is a large producer of several fruits. Unfortunately, a sizeable share of the produce is lost during harvesting, storage and transportation. Despite the rich varieties and their delicious taste, exports are disappointingly low.

India is the largest producer of bananas, of around 32 MT last year – around 14 per cent of global production. Tamil Nadu is the leader accounting for a sixth of India’s banana production. As early as in 2013 an idea was mooted to run special trains from Salem to Agra to move a variety of agri products. Disappoin-tingly, this did not progress. There is a strong case for the state demanding such a rail that attracts a 50 per cent subsidy and also handling, loading and unloading facilities at several consumption centres en route.

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