Dhaka [Bangladesh], July 13 (ANI): India's first special parcel train, carrying 384 tonnes of dry chillies from Andhra Pradesh, reached Benapole in Bangladesh on Monday afternoon, enhancing the trade ties shared between the two neighbours.
"First parcel train dispatched by Indian Railways was received by Bangladesh Railways at Benapole on July 13, 2020. Special parcel express is carrying 384 tonnes of dry chillies from Andhra Pradesh. Parcel train service, more economical than road will enhance India-Bangladesh trade," the Indian Embassy in Bangladesh said on Twitter.
For the first time in its history, the Indian Railways loaded the special train beyond the country borders with spices from Reddipalem in Guntur District of Andhra.
Guntur and its surrounding areas in Andhra Pradesh are well known for chilli cultivation. The quality of this farm produce is internationally renowned for its uniqueness in taste.
Earlier, the farmers and merchants in and around Guntur area have been transporting dry chillies by road to Bangladesh in small quantities and that was costing around Rs 7,000 per tonne. During the lockdown period, they could not move this essential commodity by road.
Then Railway staff and officials approached the consignors and explained the facilities to transport the chillies by Railways. Accordingly, they have moved the dry chillies by Rail in bulk through goods trains. But for moving the consignment by goods trains, it is mandatory for the farmers and merchants to mobilise the quantity in bulk, that is, at least more than 1,500 tonnes in each trip.
To mitigate this problem and to facilitate the rail users to move smaller quantities, that is, up to a maximum of 500 tonnes in each trip, the Guntur Division of South Central Railway took the initiative and moved the Special Parcel Express to Bangladesh. This has helped the farmers and merchants of Guntur to market their farm produce beyond the country border by transporting the dry chillies in small quantities through Special Parcel Express.
Accordingly, one Special Parcel Express train consisting of 16 parcel vans moved to Benapole in Bangladesh. Each Parcel van was loaded with 466 dry chilli bags, weighing around 19.9 tonnes and the total weight carried by the Special Parcel Express is around 384 tonnes. The cost per tonne for carrying by Special Parcel Express is Rs 4,608 which is more economical as compared to road transport which amounts to Rs 7,000 per tonne.
It may be noted that the Indian Railways has taken a series of steps to boost parcel train traffic during the COVID-19 period.
Transportation of essential items like medical supplies, medical equipment and food in small parcel sizes is very important. In order to fill in this vital need, Indian Railways has made railway parcel vans available for quick mass transportation by e-commerce entities and other customers including state governments. Railways have been running time-tabled Parcel Special trains on select routes to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential items.
A total of 4,434 parcel trains have run from March 22 to July 11, out of which 4,304 have been time-tabled trains. (ANI)