The New Delhi-bound Kerala Express left from Thiruvananthapuram Central on Wednesday with one tonne of jackfruit as part of the Kairali Queen initiative launched by Railways to transport ethnic agricultural produce to the northern and distant cities.
Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal flagged off the train. The jackfruit was procured by the Jackfruit Promotion Council that is spearheading the popularisation of the fruit.
Mr. Agrawal said the move would be beneficial to the farmers, Railways, and non-resident Keralites residing in the north.
As per an understanding reached between the council and the Railways, a fixed space in trains up to three tonnes would be provided to the council.
The loading and marketing of the fruit will be managed by the council.
Chairman of the council and district panchayat vice-president Roufas Daniel, council general secretary Pankajakshan, Agriculture Department Additional Secretary N. Vijayan, and Joint Director K.C. Rugimini were present on the occasion.
The movement of jackfruit comes close on the heels of the first exclusive goods train Kairali Black that transported bitumen from Ernakulam to Bhutan. Railways are gearing up to transport latex from Kerala to Delhi as part of a move to ensure quick and efficient transport of freight from the State.
It has been found that two-thirds of the time can be saved if freight is moved through the rail network and it will immensely benefit the economy of the State and the business community.
Compared to the 10 days needed by a truck to go from here to Delhi, an exclusive goods train can take the cargo to the national capital in five days.
Railways have found that Kerala-based products have very strong market in places such as Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Chandigarh, Amritsar, and Jalandhar.