Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the first freight rake loaded in Telangana headed for Bangladesh on Sunday. South Central Railway (SCR) loaded its first freight rake with 2,474 tonnes of turmeric in 42 wagons at Nizamabad in Telangana, and set off for Beanpole in Bangladesh.
Turmeric, which is grown extensively in Nizamabad and surrounding areas of Telangana, has traditionally been transported by road to Bangladesh.
Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, SCR said that considering the relatively high costs and time spent in road transport to Bangladesh, the Commercial Department of Hyderabad Division took the initiative of explaining the benefits of the freight loading by Rail including various concessions being offered by the Railways.
"Railways is always proactive in rendering support and encouragement to freight customers. The consignors transporting agricultural products must utilise the Rail transport which is the safest and cheapest mode of transport." he said.
With the lockdown in place, many turmeric farmers in the region have been worried about the sale of their crops.
There has also been a sustained demand for a separate turmeric board among farmers, a promise on which sitting Nizamabad Member of Parliament (MP) Dharmapuri Arvind is also said to have been swept into power. Many farmer leaders had also filed their nominations in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Telangana to highlight their issue.
The Centre had announced earlier this year that it was upgrading the divisional office of the Spices Board of India in the district to a regional office and extension centre.
However, there was no mention of the turmeric board following which farmers accused the MP of going back on his promise.
The farmers argue that a turmeric board would solve their issues as a minimum support price (MSP) would be fixed and processing units would also be set up.