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When Guntur Chilli Boarded A Train to Bangladesh – The Sign of Fast-track Focus on Farmers’ Concern

special parcel train of the Indian Railways

The famous Guntur Chillies of Andhra Pradesh have scripted a sweet story. For the first time it has travelled through a special Parcel train of the Indian Railways to reach beyond the borders to Benapole in Bangladesh.

The takeaway of this story is simple. That the Indian administration is doing everything at its disposal to help farmers, and secure them the right price. Amidst all the attention given to combating Corona situation, taking care of the farmers’ concern has not been pushed to the background, as this story assures.

Ministry of Railways informed that “Earlier, the farmers and merchants in and around Guntur area have been transporting Dry Chillies by road to Bangladesh in small quantities and that was costing around ₹7,000 per tonne. During the lockdown period, they could not move this essential commodity by Road. Then Railway staff and Officials approached the consignors and explained the facilities to transport by Rail. Accordingly, they have moved the Dry Chillies by Rail in bulk through goods trains.”

Special Parcel Express

For moving the consignment by Goods trains, it is mandatory for the farmers and merchants to mobilise the quantity in bulk i.e. at least more than 1,500 tonnes in each trip. To mitigate this, Railways initiated Special Parcel Train that allowed small quantities up to a maximum of 500 tonnes in each trip.

One Special Parcel Express train consisting of 16 Parcel Van moved to Benapole in Bangladesh. Each Parcel Van was loaded with 466 Dry Chillies bags, weighing around 19.9 Tonnes, and the total weight carried by the Special Parcel Express was around 384 Tonnes. In this mode, the cost per tonne was ₹4,608, which is economical as compared to Road transport which is amounting to ₹7,000 per tonne.

Indian Railways working to mitigate the Corona situation is well-documented. To keep the supply chain intact, Indian Railways arranged railway parcel vans for quick mass transportation by E-Commerce entities and other customers including State governments. Time-tabled Parcel Special trains on select routes are in operation. From March 22, 2020 to July 11, 2020, a total of 4,434 parcel trains have run, out of which 4,304 have been time-tabled trains.