In order to facilitate smoother transportation of perishable goods by providing redressal to issues that reefer van operators face on Indian Highways, Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister for Agriculture, inaugurated a Reefer Vehicle Call-in-centre (RVC) in New Delhi. The RVC is a joint initiative by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation and National Centre for Cold-chain Development, while Mahindra Logistics will be the technological partner.
This toll free call-in facility will be available to all transport operators of horticultural, pharmaceutical, livestock, dairy and other refrigerated goods. The call-in-centre can be reached through a toll free number where grievances of truck drivers and transport operators, transporting perishable goods, can be registered.
Launching the world first call centre for cold chain, the minister said, “The cold chain sector is fast growing, and key products including fruits, vegetables, meat, fish poultry, dairy products, confectionery and pharmaceuticals are critically dependent on it. An essential link between source and markets is refrigerated transport, which face several bottlenecks and challenges.The RVC will help create a database of bottlenecks and their types across the national highways. The response generated from this exercise will help devise long-term plans and policies to alleviate bottlenecks and thus control inflation in prices of perishable goods in the country.”
The RVC is intended to help Reefer Van transporters and operators record complaints about in-transit, operational and regulatory challenges that may cause delays in transportation of goods. These recorded complaints will then be consolidated and shared with relevant state and central authorities for subsequent redressal. This is not only to help provide instant assistance to reefer van operators, but also in developing a long-term plan for corrective action. The collated information will also be highlighted on a website to provide transparent information on bottlenecks to perishable movement on specific stretches of national and state highways.
During the inauguration, Pawanexh Kohli, chief advisor and CEO of NCCD, said, “Extortion and crime on highways, traffic jams and broken roads have been the major hurdles in front of transporting of perishable goods. And therefore, in order to make a smooth ride, we are starting Reefer Vehicle Call-in-centre. The truck drivers will be able to make a call to the helpline number. It would be a source of information for us and we will analyse the information for short term as well as long term redressal with the state and Central authorities.”
This project will also bring in IT technology to highlight concerns and assist in improving the governance mechanism on our highways.
India is second only to China in terms of fruits and vegetables and produces about 270 million tonnes of the same each year. According to official records, there are around 7,000 to 8,000 actively refrigerated trucks capable of a total cargo throughput capacity of 3.6 million tonnes.