The first goods train that passed through Namakkal on Thursday has brought smiles on the faces and hope for poultry farmers as they will be most benefited by the freight service on the Salem to Karur route – via Namakkal.

“A train with 58 wagons carried about 5,100 tonnes of grains crossed Namakkal on Thursday. Poultry farms here need such a train to meet feed requirements of the industry in the district,” said chairman of the National Egg Coordination Committee (NECC) Namakkal Zone P. Selvaraj.

He said that poultry farms in this district needed about 5,000 tonnes of feed everyday for the nearly 4.25 crore hens and one crore chicken. More than 2,500 tonnes of feed materials – 50 per cent – was being brought from other states using trucks at a freight charge that was higher than what it would cost to transport them using trains.

“We bring about 1,250 tonnes of soy bean meal and protein cakes from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat using trucks. An equal quantity of maize is being brought from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh while fish is being brought from Mangalore, Gujarat, and Tuticorin,” he said.

The expenditure was likely to come down by about Rs. 500 a tonne to Rs. 700 a tonne on feeds. It would help the industry save Rs. 7.5 lakh a day. Farmers could save Rs. 100 a tonne for materials brought from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The train would make it easier to transport eggs to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and North Eastern states.

“Truck strikes will not affect us anymore,” Mr. Selvaraj said.