Amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to cut the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus, Indian Railways has ferried 6.75 lakh wagons with essential items across the country to ensure the supply of basic necessities.
A senior Railway Ministry official said on Friday (10 April) that since 23 March, railways has transported 6.75 lakh wagons of commodities, including about 4.50 lakh wagons of essential goods like food grains, salt, sugar, edible oil, coal and petroleum products.
The official said that during the week between 2 April and 8 April, the national transporter delivered 2,58,503 wagons of commodities out of which 1,55,512 wagons contained essential items.
"This includes 21,247 wagons of food grains, 11,336 wagons of fertiliser, 1,24,759 wagons of coal and 7,665 wagons of petroleum products," he said.
The official said that the Union government has granted a slew of exemptions and relaxations for agriculture and allied sectors with respect to the 21-day lockdown to ensure that the farmers do not suffer.
He said the department of fertilisers of the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers is making all efforts to ensure adequate supply of fertilisers for the upcoming Kharif season.
"The Department of Fertilisers is closely monitoring the production, movement and availability of fertilisers and is in regular touch with state governments and the Railway Ministry on the same," he said.
Amidst the Covid-19 lockdown, Railways is also working closely with the Food Corporation of India and has moved more than 800 rakes carrying over 20 lakh metric tonnes of food grains across the country since 24 March.
"FCI is able to meet the increasing demand of food grains by gearing up the pace of supply of wheat and rice throughout the country, mostly by rail," the official said.
The railways has suspended passenger, mail and express train services from 24 March to 14 April. Only freight and special parcel trains are in service to ensure the supply of essential items.
Railways has introduced 109 parcel trains to supply essential commodities, including perishable horticulture produce, seeds, milk and dairy products.
"Approximately, 59 routes (109 trains) for parcel special trains have been notified since the beginning of the lockdown," the official said.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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