Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off the 100th run of the Kisan Rail via video conferencing, calling the service a major step towards increasing the “income of farmers”.
Speaking on the occasion, the PM said the service will bring a major change in the farm sector and increase the strength of the country’s cold supply chain. Union railway minister Piyush Goyal and agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar also attended the event.
“The Prime Minister termed the Kisan Rail Service as a major step towards increasing the income of the farmers of the country. He expressed happiness that even during the Corona pandemic, 100 Kisan Rails were launched in the last four months. He said this service will bring a major change in the economy related to farming and will also increase the strength of the country’s cold supply chain,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The train, starting from Sangola in Maharashtra and culminating in Shalimar in West Bengal, will cover a distance of 2,132 km with more than 400 tonnes of cargo at a speed of 54.6 kmph in around 39 hours. It is carrying pomegranate, custard apples, grapes and oranges.
“The Kisan Rail project not only shows the commitment of the Government to serve the farmers but also serves as a proof of how fast our farmers are ready for new possibilities,” the PM said.
At present, nine rakes of Kisan Rail trains are plying along 10 major routes, according to the ministry of railways.
“It is the participation and support of the rural people, farmers and youth that makes the government’s efforts successful. Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO’s) and cooperative groups like women’s Self Help Groups get priority in agri-business and agri-infrastructure. Recent reforms will lead to expansion of agri-businesses and these groups will be the biggest beneficiaries. Private investment in agriculture will support the government’s effort to help these groups,” the PM said.
The PM’s remarks have come amid a deadlock between protesting farm unions and the centre over three agricultural laws passed by the government in the monsoon session. Several farmers groups rejected the laws saying they left them vulnerable to exploitation by big corporations and eroded the government’s procurement and price support system.
The government, meanwhile, has repeatedly assured farmers that market yards will not be abolished, and minimum support prices will continue.