KARNATAKA

Tonnes of onion held up at railway yard in Bellary; farmers upset

LONG WAIT: Lorries loaded with onions parked at the railway yard in Bellary from Monday.

LONG WAIT: Lorries loaded with onions parked at the railway yard in Bellary from Monday.  

M. Ahiraj

They are awaiting allotment of a rake for transporting the produce to Kolkata

Farmers and traders say they had paid money to book a rakeRailway sources blame the delay on communication gap

BELLARY: Onion growers and traders from Challakeri in Chitradurga district are in a quandary over the delay in allotment of a rake to transport their produce to Kolkata.

For the past three days, the farmers and traders, who had brought tonnes of onions in about 160 lorries from Challakeri in anticipation of getting a rake for onward transportation, are eagerly awaiting its allotment.

The farmers and traders, through their association, have already paid an advance of Rs. 15,000 to book a rake consisting of 40 closed wagons, on November 9 and they were reportedly assured by railway authorities at Hubli that a rake would be allotted to them by November 13.

On arriving here with the produce, they were shocked to see that no rake had arrived. Onions cannot be stored for long in lorries and had to be transported at the earliest, failing which it would start rotting.

They have been running from pillar to post and meeting senior officials of the railways to get a rake arranged for them but in vain.

"For the past three days we have been waiting for the rake to transport the agricultural produce to Kolkata. But till today the railway authorities have not allotted a rake for us," B.S. Mrutyunjaya, a representative of farmers and traders told The Hindu .

This is for the first time that onion growers and traders have opted to transport the agricultural produce through rail as it was cost-effective and bulk of the goods could be dispatched at one go.

Hitherto, they used to transport onion to Kolkata by road. Onion from this region fetched good price in Kolkata compared to the prevailing market price here. Last month, they were allotted two rakes. "The onions are in the trucks for the past three days and owing to lack of aeration it will start rotting and may not fetch a good price. The loss will be more if there is further delay in allotment of the rake," says Gourish, a farmer.

Sources in the Railway Department told The Hindu that the confusion seemed to be owing to a communication gap. Sources informed that after booking of the rake, a requisition would be sent to the Divisional office for allotment. On getting the confirmation of allotment, the same would be communicated to the party.

But in the present case, the farmers and traders had brought their produce prior to the intimation, sources said adding that a rake had been allotted on Wednesday. The rake had not arrived till Wednesday evening.

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