NATIONAL

Japan’s cold chain for Singur

Freshness in store:Japan’s Consul General Masayuki Taga, fifth from right, with the KRT team.Special Arrangement

Freshness in store:Japan’s Consul General Masayuki Taga, fifth from right, with the KRT team.Special Arrangement  

West Bengal CM expected to officially inaugurate project in January

On the day when the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) cadre were busy preparing for a mega-rally of farmers from Singur in the Hooghly district to Kolkata earlier the month, the Consul General of Japan in Kolkata, Masayuki Taga, was busy scanning the quality of vegetables stored outside a large warehouse.

“The idea is to ensure that farmers can store the unsold vegetables up to four days in the warehouse. If it remains reasonably fresh, they can get a better price,” said Mr. Taga.

About three years back, the State finalised a project with the Japanese warehousing-cum-transportation logistics company Kawasaki Rikuso Transportation (KRT), to set up a cold chain network. The KRT facility, funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency, has been made operational within three years of the initial discussion.

It is Bengal’s first Japanese project in two decades. The Chief Minister is expected to officially inaugurate the project in January 2019.

In Singur, the Japanese project, manned by Indian and Japanese experts, is housed in two large and cold rooms that store unsold vegetables of the day. The produce is sorted, pre-cooled and taken out between two to four days to the market.

“The temperature and movement of the individuals in the rooms can be monitored from Japan,” said Kaoru Kambe, manager of KRT president’s office.

“While the objective is to ensure that the post-harvest loss is arrested, the key problem is massive electricity consumption in the warehouse, which KRT has solved by using solar power,” said Gautam Mukherjee, the Joint Director of the State’s Agricultural Marketing Department.

Giant solar panels are fitted to the warehouse.

The panels are, incidentally, procured from a Tata Group company.

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