According to a statement issued by the Railway Ministry, the Indian Railways has transported approximately 6.75 lakh wagons of commodities including about 4.50 lakh wagons of essential commodities like food grains, salt, sugar, edible oil, coal, and petroleum products since March 23.
More than 2.5 lakh wagons of commodities were loaded in the past one week out of which over 1.55 lakh wagons contained essential items. This includes 21247 wagons of food grains, 11336 wagons of fertiliser, 124759 wagons of coal and 7665 wagons of petroleum products.
The ministry said in its statement the government has granted a slew of exemptions and relaxations for the agriculture and allied sectors with respect to the 21-day lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic so as to ensure that farmers do not suffer from any adverse fall out.
The Department of Fertilisers of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers is also making all efforts to ensure an adequate supply of fertilisers for the upcoming kharif season, it said.
The statement further said the Department of Fertilisers is closely monitoring the production, movement and availability of fertilisers and is in regular touch with state governments and Ministry of Railways on the same.
The national transporter has also been working closely with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and moved more than 800 rakes carrying over 20 Lakh MT food grains across the country since March 24. FCI is able to meet the increasing demand of food grains by gearing up the pace of supply of wheat and rice throughout the country mostly by rail, it said.
Since the start of the lockdown, Railways has identified 67 routes (134 trains) for Parcel Special Trains for carrying perishable commodities including fruits, vegetables, milk and dairy products and seeds for agriculture purpose.
Till 10th April, 62 routes have been notified and 171 time tabled trains were run on these routes.
The Parcel Specials have been planned to connect all the major cities of the country, viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru. In addition, proper connectivity has also been ensured to Guwahati, to ensure supplies in the Northeast region of the country. Other important cities connected via these trains are Bhopal, Allahabad, Dehradun, Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Ranchi, Gorakhpur, Thiruvananthapuram, Salem, Warangal, Vijayawada, Vishakhapatanam, Rourkela, Bilaspur, Bhusawal, Tatanagar, Jaipur, Jhansi, Agra, Nasik, Nagpur, Akola, Jalgaon, Surat, Pune, Raipur, Patna, Asansol, Kanpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Gwalior, Mathura, Nellore, Jabalpur, etc.
Trains are being run even on those routes where demand is less, so that no part of the country remains unconnected. Trains have also been given en-route stoppages at all feasible locations, so that maximum possible clearance of parcels may be done.
“With this, almost all the important cities of India will get connected for transportation of essential and perishable goods at a fast speed. These services are expected to be further scaled up as per requirement,” the Railways’ statement added.