Indian Railways ensures availability of essential items like foodgrain through its freight train services during the lockdown due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic! In a bid to ensure that home kitchens all across the country continue to run normally even during the nationwide lockdown period, 83 rakes/3601 wagons of foodgrains were loaded on 17 April 2020. According to the Railway Ministry, one wagon contains around 58 to 60 ton consignment. Moreover, from 25 March to 17 April 2020, more than 1500 rakes and more than 4.2 million tonnes of foodgrains were loaded by train services of Indian Railways as compared to 2.31 million tonnes last year in the same period, the ministry stated in a press release.
According to the ministry, these efforts have been made by the national transporter to ensure that farm products such as foodgrains are picked up on time as well as also to ensure timely supply of necessary items during the nationwide lockdown period due to COVID-19 outbreak. The loading, unloading as well as transportation of these essential items has been in progress in full swing during the countrywide lockdown period. For loading of foodgrains, close association is being maintained with the Ministry of Agriculture. Also, to ensure the transportation of pulses in a big way, the CONCOR is working with NAFED.
Since the start of the lockdown due to COVID-19, the national transporter has also identified as many as 65 routes for Parcel Special Train services for perishable items such as vegetables, fruits, milk as well as dairy products and seeds for agriculture purpose. Till 17 April 2020, a total of 66 routes have been notified and time tabled train services are being operated on these routes.