Northeast News: NF Railways to ferry raw natural rubber from NE across India

Agartala/Guwahati, Sep 03, 2021, IANS

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has started ferrying of raw natural rubber sheets, as a new stream of goods traffic. from Tripura to various states in the country, officials said on Friday.

Tripura, which is the second largest natural rubber producing state in the country after Kerala, is currently cultivating natural rubber in 87,500 hectares of land and producing 90,000 tonnes of rubber annually. Over 1.50 lakh families are directly and indirectly associated with rubber cultivation in the state.

NFR's Chief Public Relations Officer Guneet Kaur said that the railways, in co-operation with the Tripura government, has started transporting natural rubber sheets to different parts of the country and it would economically benefit the rubber growers as well as traders besides transporters of the local area.

"Tripura exported more than 53,000 tonnes of rubber during the 2020-21 financial year to Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Delhi. Transportation normally takes place through roads causing higher carrying cost," she said.

The CPRO said that interactions with rubber traders were held and the traders were informed that they can easily transport rubber from their nearest convenient railway station at a much cheaper rate in comparison to roadways.

Natural rubber is mainly produced in West Tripura, South Tripura and Sipahijala districts and these districts are served by railway stations like Sabroom, Belonia, Udaipur, Agartala, and Jirania.

"Cost of transportation per tonne of rubber by railway from Jirania (Tripura) to Delhi, Jalandhar and Sealdah is Rs 2,492, Rs 2,342 and Rs 1,745 respectively. In comparison, the cost of transportation per tonne by road for the same distance is Rs 4,500, Rs 5,500 and Rs 3,500," the NFR CPRO said.

She said that low cost of transportation would also result in overall availability of products at cheaper rate to the end customer as transport costs reduce.

A senior Rubber Board official said that seven northeastern states, specially Tripura and Assam, are cultivating rubber in 1,90,000 hectares of land annually, producing 1.15 lakh tonne natural rubber. As there are no major rubber-based industries in the region, Tripura, Assam and other states are exporting the raw natural rubber to different states in the country in the form of sheets.