Indian Railways in its endeavor to ensure transportation of essential items during the nationwide lock down due to COVID-19, continues to deliver essential commodities like food grains through its freight services to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of corona virus in the country.
The Union Government has been focusing special attention to ensure that the supply chains of essential goods are maintained, besides ensuring that farm produce is transported without hindrance within the state and inter-state.Food grains have been transported even higher than the corresponding period April period of last year. More than 3.2 MT of food grains have been loaded between 1st April – 16th April this year as compared to 1.29 MT in the same corresponding period last year.
To ensure delivery of bigger volumes at a faster speed, Indian Railways have innovated by joining two freight trains together. Success Stories and Innovations have come from Northern Railways and South Central Railways.
Northern Railway has formed 5000 tonnes long lead long haul loaded foodgrain trains. 25 such Annapoorna trains have been formed and run by NR upto 16.04.2020. They covered the states like Assam, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram. These long lead long haul grain trains have gone up to New Bongaigaon (NBQ) in NFR.
Like NR , As part of this endeavour, now the South Central Zone of Indian Railways too has come up with a unique concept of running “Jai Kisan” Special freight trains so as to ensure speedy delivery of foodgrains to different parts of the country.
Under this concept, two freight trains loaded from two different originating stations are clubbed at the nearest junction point and moved as single train up to the common junction point of the destination stations taking the advantage of path availability due to non-running of passenger carrying trains.
Under normal circumstances, one freight train containing 42 covered wagons loaded with food grains carries around 2600 tonnes. But in the new concept two freight trains means 42+42 =84 covered wagons with 5200 tonnes capacity food grains will be moved in a single path. This concept drastically reduces the journey time of the freight trains to their respective destinations.
The zone has started this concept by running two Jai Kisan Special freight trains. The First train was moved from Dornakal Junction in Telangana on South Central Railway to Southern Railway (Sevuru and Chettinad) by clubbing two food grains trains at Dornakal Junction. Similarly, the Second Jai Kisan Special train was also clubbed at Dornakal Junction in Telangana and moved to Southern Railway (Dindigal and Mudiyapakkam). Significantly, these trains have registered an average speed of 44 kmph, fulfilling the objective of speedy movement of the essential commodities.
Maintaining continuity in supply chain was stiffer on account of tough working conditions due to lockdown. A constant coordination for terminal release/labour availability with DMs/SPs at district level, state coordinating officers, and at apex level with MHA is being done by operating officers of Indian Railways. A meticulous prior planning is being done with FCI for arranging destinations as per requirement in states. In this lockdown period, moving staff from house to control and office is being done through emergency vehicles and workman special trains. The sanitization of control and other offices is also being ensured so that staff feels safe and confident in working.