Although successful test run of the Horticulture Express, which is mutually run by the Container Corporation Limited (Concor) and National Horticulture Board (NHB), has been resting in Concor terminals in North, the officials from Concor said. The train has not operated as its trial run on 18th June.
To encourage horticulture crops, the NHB had initiated a exclusive project in the form of a 'horticulture train'. The first of its kind in the country, it was built to carry vegetables and fruits of all types during all seasons in especially designed containers to make sure proper exposure to air for better shelf life of the produce.
Though, the trial runs of the Banana train from Bhusawal and the Onion train from Kherwadi, Nashik, unsuccessful to fetch goods on their return journey from the places they were sent to and hence, no schedules for the rake were drawn thereafter. Currently the rake is resting in north.
The Banana train was flagged off from Raver, Jalgaon district to New Delhi, while Onion train was flagged off from Kherwadi, Nashik district to Kolkata.
The officials said that the drawback with the train was the unwillingness of Banana traders to load the train from Bhusawal. Since their train has to be loaded fully at one station, the Railway authorities did not allow parking the train at any other station. However, they are also awaiting Raver, which is the heart of Banana production, to be declared as Container Railway Terminal (CRT) by Central Railway, only after which loading can be planned.
Concerning the future plans to begin and boost the regularity of the train service benefitting the small traders and farmers, the officials maintained that this was only potential once the loading point was firm and the traders approved to load the rakes at the offered rates.
Though the Ludhiana-based Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology has been certified container design, the National Horticulture Research Development Foundation (NHRDF) has recommended some small improvements in the containers to ensure better ventilation for the vegetables and fruits.