Railways have stepped in to quickly transport the bumper harvest of the famed red Nashik onions by operating an additional freight train from today. The new rake will further enhance the carrying capacity of onions by 30 per cent and will be in addition to the existing three freight trains operated by Central Railways to carry the bulbs from Nashik. Onion farmers of Nashik, which produces almost 30 per cent of the total onions produced in the country, have been staring at a loss as they have failed to recover cost of farming due to falling prices of the kitchen staple.
A railway official said the orders to operate the rake came from Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, in view of the huge production of the bulb this year. “Railway is providing four rakes for onion farmers to dispatch onion to hinterland (three for Central Railway destinations and one for South Central Railway destination). As per the directives of the Minister for Railways, one more rake will be made available from February 20 for onion farmers for sending their produce to the markets,” the senior officer Narendra Patil told PTI.
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Onion farmers have yielded a bumper crop which is almost double than the previous year. “Railways are already providing 50 per cent extra goods trains than last year. (The new rake) will further enhance the carrying capacity of onion by 30 per cent,” he said, adding the onions will be transported to northern, eastern, northeastern and eastcoast parts of country, which will maximise the markets for farmers.