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Guava special on tracks

Calcutta, June 26: After the holiday season, the railway is again gearing up with special trains to meet a rush.

A boom harvest of guavas in Baruipur, South 24-Parganas, has led Eastern Railway to decide on running the “guava special” from next month.

“We will introduce the guava special from Baruipur to Sealdah so that the farmers can get good market for their bumper crop,” said Subhas Ranjan Thakur, the chief operations manager of Eastern Railway.

The train will run twice a day. It will leave Baruipur at 6 am and 12 noon and will halt at Jadavpur and Ballygunge. “Five or six vendor coaches will be joined with a motor van, which will carry only guava,” Thakur said.

The guava season reaches its peak between June and August. “If the experiment is successful, we can also run a lichee special next year,” an official said.

Baruipur is the biggest guava grower in Bengal. More than 1,000 families earn their living from the orchards and the town makes an annual business of more than Rs 5 crore.

Places like Kalyanpur, Shankarpur, Shikharbari, Hariharpur, Govindapur and Ramnagar are ripe with acres of green guavas this time of the year. Farmers said the main hindrance to the trade was transport. Tonnes of guavas go waste every year because they fail to take them to the market on time.

Trucks and vans are usually used to bring the guavas to the city. “These vehicles cause massive traffic jams and the fruits, too, are damaged. The profits take a dip,” said Samir Chakraborty, who owns 100 guava trees. “We have also demanded a food processing unit, where we can conduct research to get improved varieties of the fruit,” he added.

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