India launches toll free number for perishable good transportation
New Delhi,Sept 18: In order to curb losses of perishable food items like fruits, vegetables, fish and meat during their transportation, the Indian government recently launched a toll free helpline number (toll no: 18002676223), to provide assistance to refrigerated carriers or reefers stuck on their way to the markets.
The first of its kind Reefer Vehicle Call-in-Centre (RVC), set up jointly by the government’s National Centre for Cold-Chain Development (NCCD) and Mahindra Logistics will provide support for ensuring smooth movement of such perishable food items.
India’s Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the call centre will help in creating database of common logistical hurdles experienced on highways by the refrigerated truckers.
“The essential link between source and markets is refrigerated transport vehicles, which face various challenges. The e-governance initiative is a step towards improving connectivity of farm produce and enabling better returns to small farmers engaged in the task of growing fruits and vegetables,” he said.
Singh said that data collated at the call centre will also help in identifying crime-spots on the highways. “There is a significant delay in movement of reefer vehicles caused by factors like long-toll lines, document verification and in some parts due to crime,” he said.
The minister assured that grievances of truck drivers and transport operators, transporting perishable goods, will be registered at the call centre. “The response generated from this exercise will help in devising long term plans and policies to alleviate bottlenecks and thus control inflation in prices of perishable goods in the country,” he elaborated.
The round-the-clock facility is available for all reefers transporting horticultural, livestock, dairy, pharmaceutical and other refrigerated goods. The collated information will also be highlighted on a website for providing transparent information on bottlenecks to perishable movement on specific stretches of national and state highways.
Singh also said that interspersed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of introducing e-governance measures, particularly in the agriculture sector, this call-in-centre will help in enhancing overall productivity by improving connectivity.
India is second only to China in terms of fruits and vegetables and produces about 270 million tonnes annually and there are about 8000 refrigerated trucks capable of total cargo throughput capacity of 3.6 million tonnes.