Lasalgaon to get cold storage facility for onion, other perishables

Container Corporation of India ltd (Concor), the logistics arm of the Railways, is developing a cold storage facility at Lasalgaon, near Nashik, for storage of onions and other perishable produce. 

Union minister for railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis laid the foundation stone for the cold storage and warehouse on Sunday.

This cold storage will have a total capacity of 2,500 tonnes, out of which 1,500 tonnes will be exclusively utilised for onion storage and the remaining for other perishable commodities such as fruits and vegetables like pomegranate, grapes, banana, tomato, citrus etc.

The Railways, which is faced with shrinking passenger traffic, is looking at ways to increase  freight traffic for boosting revenues.

Providing warehousing services, besides bringing in additional revenue will also boost goods traffic, which would otherwise have gone to truckers.

The cold storage at Lasalgaon will benefit farmers of not only Nashik and Lasalgaon, but also of nearby Jalgaon, Manmad, Dhule etc.

The cold storage, being set up at a cost of Rs5 crore is part of Concor's CSR activities. The cold storage will be maintained by Lasalgaon Vibhag Sahakari Kharedi Vikri Sangh Ltd.

Indian Railways is a major transporter of onion and plays a key role in timely transportation of onion to various consumer market from producer states.

To reduce the spoilages, Indian Railways allots the rakes / wagons on priority basis wherever possible for carriage of onion, as per its policy to prioritise the movement of perishables and foods. 

The climatic conditions largely affect the onion growing areas thereby leading to fluctuations in farm produce. A bumper production needs to be properly stored to stabilise supply during scarcity.

The conventional methods often result in losses exceeding 35 per cent depending on the weather conditions.  The losses are thus national loss as the input cost increases. The cold storage will help in increasing the post storage life of onions.

The labour cost is also reduced to a great extent as there is no need for turning around the onions as required in conventional storage. There is direct saving of material cost and farming cost due to saving in weight and spoilage losses.

Maharashtra, which contributes nearly 33 per cent of the national onion production, needs quality storage options.