March 2, 2012 12:30:11 am
After the successful trial of the first horticulture train,a specially-created temperature-maintained,1,600-MT capacity train,from Bhusawal in Maharashtra to Azadpur mandi in New Delhi a couple of days ago,the Centre plans to introduce a similar train for Punjab. P K Basu,secretary,agriculture and cooperation,Government of India,said similar trains for Punjab and the North- Eastern states were the Centres main priorities.
We have completed the successful trial of the first Horti train recently and now we are planning to introduce similar trains for Punjab and the North-East states. The train maintains a required temperature to keep perishable items healthy and fresh during transportation, Basu said,before adding that the train will have state-of-the-art facilities to control temperature,humidity and ventilation to keep vegetables and fruits inside the containers fresh and healthy.
On whether the Horti train would be part of the coming railway budget,Basu,who was in the city to listen to problems faced by farmers,said the initiative did not have to be part of the railway budget as the agriculture department had enough funds for such schemes. Last year the department received a Rs 17,000 crore budget and it will only increase this year,he added.
The Rs 16-crore fully air-conditioned and mechanised horticulture train,which was run recently,is a joint initiative of the National Horticulture Board Container Corporation Of India and the Railways. During the first trial run,the train carried bananas from Bhusawal to the Azadpur mandi in 26 hours. The train,on its return journey,will carry potatoes from Agra to Vashi,Nashik and then Bhusawal,thus completing the cycle. A similar train would be able to carry the perishable items like kinnow,potato,vegetables,and other fruits from Punjab to markets in other states.
Basu also listened to the problems faced by the potato and kinnow growers. The union secretary said he had great hopes on the states farmers. I dream that India will become a horticulture ‘Super Power and Punjab,which is Mecca of agriculture,has great potential for horticulture too and farmers here would never let me down, he said.
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