To begin with, Indian Railways could demarcate tracks for transporting vegetables and fruits from Maharashtra to Delhi. “We had a meeting with the Railways Board chairman and he has agreed to the idea. The finer details need to be worked out,” agriculture secretary P K Basu told Business Standard.
The ministry is also seeking concessional rates for transportation of vegetables and fruits in the corridor. “Later on, the project will be expanded to other parts of the country,” he said, adding that along the routes, the commodity collected will also be distributed at consumption centres. Maharashtra is one of the biggest producers of fruits and vegetables.
The ministry is also working on starting a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for development of cold chains. An agreement has already been reached between the National Horticulture Development Board (NHB), Central Warehousing Corporation and Concor for starting the SPV. These will now solicit participation from private parties for creating a model of public private partnership. A national cold chain development centre is also on the anvil and the NHB chairman will be de-facto chairman of the centre.
“Till now the focus of agriculture ministry has been largely on grains and cereals, but now we will like to work more on horticulture products and ensure easy transportation and storage of fruits and vegetables in the country,” Basu said. Vegetable prices rose 44.34 per cent, while fruits prices rose 10.46 per cent during the week ended January 29 year-on-year, even as overall food inflation stood at 13.07 per cent
Source - Business Standard