New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the "Kisan Rail" was a big step towards empowering the farmers of the country and increasing their income. He said that the rail service has hugely strengthened small and marginal farmers who account for 80 per cent of the peasantry in country. 

"Kisan Rail is like a moving cold storage facility. Perishable items like fruits, vegetables, milk, fish etc can be safely transported from one place to another in time," said PM Modi as he flagged off the 100th "Kisan Rail" from Sangola in Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal via video-conferencing.

The prime minister also said that the government will continue to work with to strengthen farmers and agriculture sector with "full force and dedication."

"Under PM Krishi Sampada Yojana, around 6500 projects like mega food parks, cold chain infrastructure, agro-processing clusters have been approved. Rs 10,000 crores have been approved for micro food processing industries under government's 'Atmanirbhar' package," he said. 

The multi-commodity train service will carry vegetables such as cauliflower, capsicum, cabbage, drumstick, chilli and onion as well as fruits like grape, orange, pomegranate, banana and custard apple, according to an official statement.

Loading and unloading of perishable commodities will be permitted at all stoppages en route with no bar on the size of consignment, it said, adding that the Centre has extended a 50-per cent subsidy on the transportation of fruits and vegetables.

It may be noted that the first Kisan Rail was introduced from Devlali in Maharashtra to Danapur in Bihar on August 7, which was further extended up to Muzaffarpur.

Following good response from farmers, its frequency was increased from a weekly service to three days in a week, it said.

"Kisan Rail has been a game changer in ensuring fast transportation of agriculture produce across the nation. It provides a seamless supply chain of perishable produce," it said.

The launch of the train by PM Modi comes amid protests by a section of farmers against the Centre's three farm laws near Delhi's borders. 

So far, five rounds of formal talks held between the Centre and 40 protesting farmer unions remained inconclusive. After repeated requests from the Centre to resume the discussion to end the stalemate, the unions have given December 29 for talks. The government, in response, has written to the unions inviting them for talks on December 30.     

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta