Indian Railways is considering a train service from Nagpur to transport oranges to different parts of the country. Nagpur, is known as the winter capital of the western state of Maharashtra. It is considered as the orange capital of India with 150,000 hectares of plant area producing 500,000 tons of the citrus fruit.
The orange season in India, which has a total of 479,000 hectares of area under cultivation, varies by region. In the north, the season starts from December to February while it is from October to March in the south.
Indianexpress.com quoted Railway Minister Piyush Goyal as saying: "We are also in discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture to start refrigerated coaches for transport of perishable commodities; warehouses are being planned to be developed to permanently solve problem of wastage of farm produce.”
Kisan Rail specials
Kisan Rail facilitates special seasonal trains identified by the government for farmers to send fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishable goods to buyers across India: the Mango special, Banana Special, Onion Special and Sapota Special.
Officials said the Rail and Agriculture ministries are working to institutionalise these “corridors”, or dedicated routes, to make them season-specific to a fruit or vegetable. The plans also include carrying fish and meat in refrigerated containers at some point in the future, they said.
The service assumes significance with the new farm laws that enable farmers to sell their produce to buyers of their choice. So far, the identified routes and seasons include:
- Onion and Banana Special from Naszik and Jalgaon to Delhi between March and December.
- Mango Special from Andhra Pradesh to Delhi from April to June.
- Banana Special for export from Anantpur to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai.
- Sapota (chiku) Special from Surat, Valsad and Navsari in Gujarat to Delhi between April and November.
- Protein Special for packaged meat from the Dadri or Kanpur areas in UP to ports in Gujarat and Mumbai — this is already an established route.